Devil in disguise. Baby, I DO bite …!?
I know I am endangered, cute and cuddly.
People awwww me when I get roly poly.
I live on a bamboo diet…
I do honk and bite!
Miyozakura Junmai Cup, aka "Panda Cup", one of the most famous and loved cup sakes in Japan
The world's first cup sake was produced in 1964 and it's now a new boom in Japan.
You may ask, "Hey Panda, what on earth is 'cup sake'?". It's pretty straight forward, sake in a glass that's ready to be enjoyed. Usually it consists of 180ml of sake but depends on the brewery, some has more (270ml) and some has less (50ml, yes, you read it right).
Many of you may wonder if there're any differences between the ones in bottle. Well, technically and visually yes but basically no. The quality (taste, flavour etc…) stays more or less the same. So a top quality sake from a first-rate brewery stays as it is, likewise, cheesy low quality stuff will freeze in time. Futsushu cups (regular, ordinary sake) can be really futsu whereas junmai, honjozo and junmai daiginjo cups are those you don't wanna miss.
**Please don't get mixed up with the "futsushu" version because this junmai cup is pure rice sake of a higher quality. Look for the bamboos on the cup.
Wanna know more about me? No probs!
Established in 1893, the Gifu-based (located in central eastern Japan) Miyozakura Jozo made my futsushu big bro in 1972 to celebrate the arrival of giant pandas Kankan and Lanlan at Ueno Zoo in Tokyo. Since then, we've been some of the most popular products of Miyozakura.
Only the best ingredients are used in their products, for example, I'm made out of the beautifully clean, pure river water of Kiso River and Gifu-produced Asahinoyume sake rice. No wonder Miyozakura has won so many awards like the National New Sake Award (Gold) and the Nagoya Regional Taxation Bureau Sake Division Award (Gold).
How do I taste?
There're rumours that I'm more palatable when heated up but that's not quite true. I'm an emotional giant panda, so I taste different at different temperatures. Having said that, I don't taste too complex so all I have to give would be the taste of the alcohol and the strong koji, rice flavour.
I'll be refreshing and a bit light when you serve me chilled (5 - 10'C). Most ladies and sake beginners love a chilled panda. Warm me up a little (serve at room temperature) and I'll be semi-smooth, a little richer and finish clean. Finally, if you heat me up to 45 - 50'C, I'll be even smoother, richer and dryer. I'll give you a crisp, clear finish with minimal aftertaste. Most guys love a passionate panda.
Generally speaking, I lean on the dry side so people often say I'm manly. And since Miyozakura made me with good unpolluted river water, you can sense the natural sweetness in me (definitely not the fruity or floral types). Leave me in your mouth for a while and you'll taste a hint of sweetness, followed by the dominant dryness.
How to heat me up?
1. Bring water to a boil in a pot.
2. Remove my plastic cap.
3. Remove the pot from the heat and put me in.
4. Take me out after 1 minute or so and enjoy.
** Beware 'cause I'm really HOT!
1. Remove my plastic cap and unseal me.
2. Put me in and microwave for 90 seconds or so.
3. Give me a gentle stir and enjoy.
** Again, beware!!
I make a good match with…
Try something sweet and savoury, like nikujyaga (Japanese meat and potato stew), teriyaki chicken, nasudengaku (grilled eggplant glazed with miso paste).
1. Just $9 and you can have a high quality pure rice sake.
2. I'm just 180ml so you can try and see if I'm your cup of sake. Give it a go 'cause you have nothing to lose.
3. To be honest, I don't produce a popping sound as loud as champagne but still exciting when unsealed.
4. I'm a gift within a gift. After finishing the sake, you can use me to store your condiments (personally I prefer colourful hard candies!) or knick-knacks. Some use me to make jam, others, a pen holder or water glass. Reminds you of the very famous chocolate egg with a tiny toy inside, no? You can also down the thing and give me to your girl or your mum, your granny… they will love it!
5. I'm cute with pandas and bamboos printed directly on the glass rather than just on the wraparound label, so I'm a collectable myself. Put me on your shelf and show it off to your friends or simply give me to your special someone as a souvenir.
Now, down me if you can.