Commonly known as Japanese Rice Wine, sake is a fermented alcoholic beverage that is sulfite-free and offers very little hangover potential at the premium level. Most Americans hear the word "Sake" and it conjures up horrible memories. The late night Sushi or Teppanyaki dinner. the warmed beverage downed in shots. The quick drunk and the mind numbing hangover. You swear you'll never have it again, until you're out late one night and the cycle starts all over. Premium sake, however, can be complex, full bodied, clean, smooth, aromatic and sometimes even a little chewy.
Sake, correctly pronounced "Sah-Keh", not "Sah-Kee", is experiencing a fantastic growth in the United States, and the demand is increasing every day. Here in Las Vegas, the gastronomic center of the universe, people are really latching onto it. Since alcohol burns off in the heat, more is added to the sake. That's where the hangover comes from. In actuality, most sakes should be served chilled and sipped, not shot. Generally, sake has about the same alcohol content as a good wine, about 15%-16%.