Bringing Japan’s Ambrosia to Earth; Nakano’s Shuzo Ichigo No Osake

6 Apr

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By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

Sake lovers already know not all brands are alike. Everything comes from the purity of the water, type of rice used and how it’s brewed. But when it comes to additives, what can be added to transform this drink to become a holy nectar of the gods? Nakano’s Shuzo Ichigo No Osake is created using the natural waters flowing from Fujishiro Mountain Range and every time I sample this strawberry-infused delight, I believe I’m kissing Amaterasu’s smooth divine lips!

I discovered this delight when in Vancouver many months ago. As I drifted by Gyoza Bar, the harmonies I heard from within drew me inside and as I sat down, I eyed the drink menu over the food instead.

Amongst the dinner selections were many styles of dumplings, tacos, and baos (sandwiches). With the latter, you get to stuff your own selection of meats and vegetables into a bread. I’ll be returning to this place on my next trip to the big city to try this out, but the alcohol offered here was certainly beyond the traditional fare. The menu listed three fruity infusions (the other two being Sakagura [plum] and Yuzu [citrus]) and if the price was not so expensive, I would have tried each! To watch me waddling back to my hotel would have been hilarious. People would probably think I was either Tsunade Sama from Naruto or Shunsui Kyōraku from Bleach who could not hold his liquor. Well, I can easily cozy up to this drink like the cat Madara in Natsume Yuujinchou.

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Nakano’s Strawberry Sake is supple and gently sweet, tasting like that of berries plucked at the epitome of ripeness. The essence is perfectly captured and I swear I was eating them fresh off the vine! I sipped it chilled and soon the soft arms of Tennin (Japanese nymphs) were completely around me and like a warm blanket, I did not want to leave. There was a song being heard in my mind. I wanted to forever stay in their embrace and drift listlessly in the aether.

Because this brand is not as well-known or stocked anywhere, the only way to taste this ambrosia is to order it (from BC Liquor) by the case. Even in Alberta, which has a listing at daVine Wines & Spirits (and priced at $23 per bottle), this item is out of stock. I thought I could get it by a single bottle, but no. For such a beautiful drink, getting a 12 pack by the caseload to last a couple of months is required! I’ve finally opened my fourth bottle since obtaining the parcel in December 2015 and even now as I think back on this $250 investment, I have no regrets.

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