Is Saki A Gluten Free Drink?
Saki is naturally gluten free, but it all depends on how it’s made. Premium brands of saki do not contain gluten because of the requirements in place for the brewing process.
Non-premium brands of saki have more leniency when it comes to how it can be processed. Therefore, makers will sometimes use additives that contain gluten. It’s vital to read the label of saki before consuming it if you cannot tolerate gluten.
That being said, not all non-premium saki bottles will have a detailed list of ingredients on the label. It’s ideal to stick with premium saki if you cannot have gluten.
What Is Saki?
Saki is a Japanese rice wine that contains alcohol, made of fermented rice. Saki is sometimes aged in barrels. The majority of barrels used to age saki will not have any sort of gluten additives used. However, if the saki is aged in wine barrels, there is potential for cross contamination which is not ideal for someone with celiac disease.
What Is In Saki?
Saki is always made with fermented rice. It is also made with Kuji mold which aids in the fermentation process. Another ingredient in some saki is distilled alcohol. Alcohol can contain gluten, but because saki requires it to be distilled, it no longer contains gluten once the process is finished.
If you are very sensitive to even small amounts of gluten, search for saki that has junmai or junmai-shu on the label. This is premium saki that does not use distilled alcohol in it, and instead relies on the fermentation from the Koji to provide alcohol content.
While there are some forms of Koji that contain gluten, rice Koji is actually the only type of Koji that is allowed to be used in premium saki. Koji is a fungus that has to be grown on something, which will sometimes be grains such as barley. However, the grain is not actually used in the saki.
For those who are not sensitive to very small trace amounts of gluten, they may be okay with non-premium sake that may not be made with rice Koji.
How Is Saki Usually Enjoyed?
Sake is usually served in the bottle at the table, and is poured into small cups called choko or guinomi. They look similar to shot glasses, but saki is not meant to be taken as a shot. It is also customary to have someone else pour your saki for you, and then you return the favor.
The traditional way to enjoy saki is with small sips. That way, you get the full flavor profile of the saki. In Japanese culture, saki is considered a special drink savored during special times with loved ones and ceremonies.
Depending on the type of saki, it is sometimes served warm, but it can also be enjoyed chilled. Premium sake tends to be served chilled.
Are There Any Nutritional Benefits To Saki?
There hasn’t been a lot of research into what types of nutritional or health benefits saki has. Some studies suggest a small amount of alcohol consumption can reduce the risk of disease, stroke, and diabetes.
With saki having limited ingredients, it could be considered a healthier option for alcohol when enjoyed responsibly.
Nutritional Profile Of Saki
The following nutritional information relates to one serving of saki, or 100 grams.