We started the event with Banzai Bunny sparkling sake, not something I would ever have thought I might enjoy but it has a nice effervescent fizz courtesy of a secondary fermentation. It's not really like a Champagne, I found its slightly citrusy sparkle to be more like a Vinho Verde.
As with any fermented grain beverage the making of the mash forms key importance for sake. Although sake is called rice wine it is really more akin to a beer or a whisky. One thing that makes sake, which is made from rice, different from other beverages is the focus on not just the type of rice but on how much of it is polished away. Before processing into mash for sake, the rice is polished to remove the protein and oils from the exterior of the rice grains leaving a starchy core. The finer sakes have more of the rice polished away, in fact a new ultra premium sake promises to remove a full 91 percent of the rice, making the sake from the remaining nine percent. As you might expect, it has a hefty price tag, $2,000 a bottle, earning it a someday space on my drinking "bucket list."