Sustainable sippers, part 5: Ah, sake

American producers are making some mighty fine versions of the traditional Japanese rice wine, including SakeOne Momokawa certified-organic line and Takara Sake’s Sho Chiku Bai Organic Nama. As with grape wines, offerings range from those made with organic ingredients–organic rice and/or koji (yeast)–to those that are certified organic.

Benefits: There are six styles of Momokawa, from lush, fruity Organic Junmai Ginjo to the traditional-style, minimally filtered Pearl. The sake is affordable enough (about $11 a 750-ml bottle of Momokawa and $7.50 for a 300-ml bottle of Organic Nama) to host a tasting for your friends.

Drawbacks: Berkeley, California-based Takara Sake’s product is made with certified organic rice from the nearby Sacramento Valley, but the rice wine itself is not certified organic. Also, it’s made in very small batches and may be hard to find.

Sake-jito

Inspired by the Cuban cocktail, this drink uses organic sake in place of traditional rum for a cocktail that’s refreshing and subtly sweet.

8 fresh mint leaves

2 teaspoons powdered sugar

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

2 ounces organic sake

2 ounces sparkling water

1 mint sprig (optional)

  1. Place mint leaves in the bottom of a highball glass, add sugar and juice. Muddle (crush) with a muddler or the back of a wooden spoon. Add sake; stir. Add crushed ice. Top with sparkling water. Garnish with mint sprig, if desired. Yield: 1 serving.

Also in this series:

Part 1: Wine, beer, and spirits hop on the organic bandwagon

Part 2: Wine

Part 3: Vodka and gin

Part 4: Mix with Care

Part 6: Tequila