Innovative Sake Merging Japanese Tradition & Western Culture

Haikara SakeFrom the renowned fifth-generation-run sake producer Umenoyado in Nara, Japan comes the unique and truly innovative “Haikara Sake.” Building upon a traditional foundation, this new fruit-infused sake was created in celebration of the popularity of Japanese culture throughout the United States serving to meld the cultures of east and west.

From sushi and ramen to yakitori and whisky, Americans are embracing their love of Japanese flavors and artisan products with increasing fervor. These ever-increasing trends, as well as the flourishing cocktail revolution, lead to the development of Haikara Sake — to be enjoyed chilled over ice or as a delicious ingredient in creative cocktails. Haikara appeals to traditional and curious drinkers alike through its captivating flavor profiles, mixability, drinkability and refined production process using time-honored sake traditions.

“One may think a company that has been making sake for over 100 years would be stuck in their ways, however, this is not the case for Umenoyado,” said Kayo Yoshida, the President of Umenoyado. “Umenoyado is a leader in sake innovation and prides itself on being an industry pioneer while staying true to the age old craft of making sake. There are two things Umenoyado will not compromise on: water and rice. The water flows from Mt. Katsuragi and the rice is nurtured in Hyogo. This ensures that the sake, no matter how innovative, always maintains the legacy and roots of its origin.”

The use of bright, authentic flavors with a modern look and feel, Haikara emerges as the perfect intersection between Japanese and Western culture.

Umenoyado, which translates as “home of plum trees,” has been producing traditional Japanese sake since 1893 and is continuously on the forefront of innovation. Staying true to its century-old brewing history, Umenoyado introduced Haikara to embrace and further influence the way Americans perceive and enjoy sake.

The Western influence in Japan has brought new trends in style, fashion, and culture, which inspired Umenoyado to name this new sake “Haikara.” Literally translating to “High Collar,” in reference to the collared shirts worn by Westerners, but meaning “Fashionably Western, this term is now recognized as a way to describe the synergistic blending of cultures. The popularity of “Fashionably Western,” in Japan as well as the admiration of Japanese cultures in America was the catalyst that shaped Haikara’s development, including the flavor profiles, the recipe and even the packaging.

It’s widely believed that sake’s first introduction to the U.S. occurred when American soldiers stationed in Japan after World War II returned home with a taste for it. While this prompted an increase in sake importing and popularity among restaurateurs and despite numerous sake varietals in the marketplace, the vast majority of American’s are only familiar with the choice between having house sake, served hot or cold. Since the time it was introduced in America there has been little change in the diversity breadth of diversity of sake offered – until now.

Tojis (sake masters) at Umenoyado created Haikara to provide Americans with a new sake experience, one that is rich with unique and bold flavors. Haikara is currently available in two varieties: ‘Yuzu,’ which is made with a Japanese citrus fruit that looks like a small grapefruit and tastes similar to mandarin orange with overtones of lemon; and ‘Momo,’ which is derived from a type of Japanese peach that is larger and softer than Western peaches, delivering a taste that is described as delicate and elegantly sweet.

Also noticeably different about Haikara is the unique design. Departing from the well-recognized silhouette of a small tapered bottle that one might expect from conventional sake, Haikara sets itself apart with a modern, tall, textured bottle with details reminiscent of a crystal cut decanter. Approachable minimalist labeling, which is free of Japanese lettering, complements the eye- catching fruit colors of the sake within. While Japanese to its core, Haikara inspires curiosity from the American consumers, allowing them to access new appreciation and greater insight into the category.

Recently, mixologists have seen the success of using traditional sakes in cocktails. Sake used in martinis have become some of the most popular cocktails served at many Asian restaurants in the U.S. Haikara will expand on this sake-cocktail culture with a flavor profile well suited to provide balance to a wide variety of cocktails. Mixologists who have experimented using Haikara in libations have found it pairs excellently with ginger, fruits, herbs and other spirits.

Renowned mixologists Nick Mautone from the East Coast and Matt Seigel from the West Coast have been tapped to create the cocktail program behind Haikara to give inspiration to venues around the country. Some of their innovations that are perfectly complimented by Haikara include: “Avocado Swizzle,” which combines Yuzu with tequila, simple syrup and avocado, garnished with a sprig of cilantro (Mautone); “Tea for Tiki,” using Yuzu, Absinthe, Pineapple juice, green tea, dry curacao and lavender bitters (Mautone); and “8,000 Miles,” Haikara Momo, Coconut Cream, Velvet Falernum, White Rum and Pineapple Juice (Seigel).

Whether mixed in a cocktail or served cold, Haikara Sake promises to refresh the senses while reinvigorating the U.S. sake market and expanding perceptions of this brewed beverage that’s been enjoyed for hundreds of years.

Haikara Sake, 720ml, 12.5%abv MSRP – $34.99
imported by Park Street Imports

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