as Japan’s sweltering and languid summer passes, autumn is the season when appetites come back with vengeance. It is the season for harvesting and the time to get cozy with comfort food. In the Japanese sake world it is the time when “Hiyaoroshi (冷や卸し)” – a special term for sake released in autumn.
What is the “Hiyaoroshi”? In the Edo period (1603-1867), sake was pasteurized just after being pressed in winter to stop the propagation of undesirable bacteria, and then stored in large wooden vats in the coolest parts of breweries over the summer. Once the weather cooled down around September, it could then be shipped without the usual second pasteurization process. This is where the name, “Hiyaoroshi” meaning “cold shipping” comes from. Hiyaoroshi contains ample “umami” (rich savory flavor) from being matured for about six months over the summer, and is therefore very well suited to be served warm. Just like hot toddy in the western world, the Japanese like to turn to hot sake cocktails called “Tamago-zake” (卵酒) – meaning “egg-sake”, when they are a bit under the weather, or just to warm up. So here is a delicious hot sake eggnog cocktail with a modern twist, perfect for the turn of the season.
International Kikizakeshi (sake sommelier) IwC sake judge 2015