Friday, January 05, 2007

12/31/06: New Year's Eve at Saké Hana

This is a momentous occasion, something I have been anticipating for about two months. Of course, I am talking about finally getting caught up in this blog.

Oh yes, and there is that New Year Eve thing. The last few weeks, between busy retail season and my college buddy's wedding, was extremely busy. As a matter of fact, said wedding took place on Friday (12/29) and Saturday (12/30) out of town, and I went straight to work at the wine store on the "busiest day of the year."

With incredible amount of alcohol consumption the night before, namely Rémy Martin Grand Cru (SMV: N/A, Acidity: N/A, Rice: no, 100% Petite Champagne, Seimaibuai: N/A, Yeast: N/A), I needed a mellow evening. Naturally, Saké Hana was on top of the short list of places to go. (Although the initial enticement of $45 all-you-can-drink-saké was very attractive couple of weeks ago, I was there for the décor and companionship, I swear.)

By the time I got there about 9:50 p.m., few minutes early as Toshi jokingly (I hope) pointed out, there were quite a few bottles laid out on the counter top. Since I didn't have the camera with me nor take notes this time, my memory will have to do: Nanbu Bijin Tokubetsu Junmai, Ichinokura Junmai, Urakasumi Junmai, Sawanoi Junmai Ginjo, Shirataki Junmai, Harushika Chokara, Otokoyama Tokubetsu Junmai, Ōyama Tokubetsu Junmai, Fukinishiki Junmai, Hitorimusume "Sayaka" Junmai, and Nanawarai plus two other new sakés that I don't remember. Overall, there were about dozen 1.8L bottles lined up on the counter top, a beautiful sight to see for sure.

After I got started trying Nanawarai and one of the newer saké, I made couple of new friends, recent members of the NY Saké Meetup Group including Ryan and Josh. Soon thereafter, Ai-san and Tomo-chan arrived, and evening was well under way.

The evening was fun. The guys were new to saké, so Toshi and I got to talk and drink saké with them, trying Nanbu Bijin, Ichinokura, Otokoyama, and Sawanoi. Nanbu Bijin was well received by the guys, and I had several servings of Urakasumi (SMV: +2, Acidity: 1.5, Rice: Manamusumé, Seimaibuai: 65%, Yeast: N/A) one of my favorite Junmai for its light, balanced approach.

As the clock approached midnight, I decided to have my last glass be the epitome of tradition by ordering a round off the menu for Sudo Honké's "Sato No Homaré" Junmai Ginjo, one of my all-time favorites. I started the New Year with another round off the menu, going with my other all-time favorite, Dassai 50 Junmai Ginjo. The significance of those two sakés, aside from the fact that they were my favorites, is that I recommended them as two of the "6 Sakés Recommended by Professionals" article from "Shūkan NY Seikatsu" free paper in NY. Among the others in this saké-centric special edition were discussion of the industy by Sakagura's Kadoi-san as well as our host of the night, Toshi-san, introduction of kura featuring Sakurai-san and Kuji-san, and two more recommendations by Chizuko-san from Sakagura.

With the exhaution kicking in from the last few days, I didn't last much beyond 1 am. I do remember saying good night to Ai-san and Tomo-chan, who opted to stay longer, and also seeing Ryan knodding off at the bar on the way out.

Anyhow, Happy 2007!


Melinda said...

Happy New Year!

Funny, I just had some Dassai 50 the other night. It really is great stuff.

I'm so impressed and jealous that you can read Japanese. I took at look at that pic of Shukan NY Seikatsu and didn't get much past the headline.

KCinNYC said...

Hey Melinda,

Akemashite Omedetougozaimsu!

Don't worry about not being able to read too much Japanese; the most important thing is to be able to recognize the picture of the bottles!


Timothy said...

KC - HAPPY NEW YEAR! I only wish I could have been in two places at once - I would have loved to spend New Year's eve with you guys.

Here's to a lot of fun sake events in 2007!