How Sake is Made
Sake is a traditional Japanese alcoholic drink that originated in the 8th century and is made by fermenting polished rice. Unlike wine that uses sugar and yeast to make alcohol and carbon dioxide through the fermentation, sake ferments polished rice, koji (rice mold critical to making sake, miso, and soy sauce) and water to turn the grains into starch then to sugar.
The quality of rice, koji and water are therefore very important to make delicious sake. Rice that is used in sake-making is usually bigger, hardier than rice people eat and is polished to remove the bran. Water not only removes odor and yellow color in sake, but it also helps sake to taste richer thanks to its mineral content.
Depending on how the three main components of sake (rice, water, and koji) are processed and combined, brewers can produce beautiful varieties of sake from cloudy nigori sake to aromatically dry sake to sweet sparkling sake!
Lastly, the makers can pour extra water in the bottle to modify alcohol content and can also add extra fragrance or sugar to make it more delicious.