Have You Ever Attended A Guided Tasting?
If you haven't, imagine an intimate group, sharing the same food and beverage, while an expert discusses the nuanced flavor, history, culture, and technique that goes into making it. This format is extremely effective in elevating your experience. Tastings create a valuable, memorable experience, by adding intention and mindfulness to our basic need to eat and drink.
How Does This Happen?
Hosting guided tastings can be quite simple once you get into a rhythm:
- Choose a theme
- Curate the menu
- Invite an expert
- Announce the date, and
- Let the magic happen.
Here is an example of an impromptu Sake Tasting I arranged for friends with Islander Sake of Honolulu, Hawaii:
Recently, I was gifted five kinds of Sake, brewed by Islander. You may have seen the post if you follow me on Instagram. My friend wanted to share my feedback with the brewer, and having never heard of this new brand and Sake brewery, I was more than happy to oblige.
Having that many Sake from one brewery, I decided it would only be right to organize a tasting with some of my fellow Sake Sommeliers. Due to the Pandemic, it had to be online, but after some texts, we figured out how to split the bottles into samples, and distribute them to share over a Zoom call.
While coordinating, someone asked if we could invite the brewer to join us. Why not try, right? Incredibly, generously, and with very little notice, she agreed to take part.
This was not everyone, and Tama Hirose, in charge of sales for Islander, shared a screen with Chiaki Takahashi, the founder and head brewer pictured above (meaning the brewery and Sake are in fact woman-owned and brewed - *COOL!*). Also in attendance were Paul from Nankai Shochu, James from Nova Brewing Co., and Sachiko from Tipsy Sake.
Chiaki introduced herself, Islander Sake, and stayed to chat and answer our many, deeply nerdy, Sake questions. In addition to making great Sake from her home on Oahu, she shared her dream to create a Sake research center for aspiring brewers to learn the traditions and techniques for proper Sake brewing.
Over the last three years, she has had to overcome many challenges, only to finally open to the public last March... days before the Coronavirus shutdown. Her personal history is a fascinating story of relentlessly pursuing her goals and passions, so I have no doubt she will ultimately succeed.
The Value of Guided Pairings
Learning about Chiaki, her brewery, and everything that went into producing her Sake, while we tasted each one, was not only fun but memorable, too. It was also something I would love to do again and again.
Still Not Sure?
From choosing the theme to tracking down guest speakers, you may still feel unsure how to put it all together. What to pair? Who to invite? How to advertise? If you have too many unanswered questions SAKE SECRET can help.
SAKESECRET.com will continue to grow as a resource and a space for inspiration. Check back frequently for new offerings, such as updates to this blog, or better yet:
Do you have an unforgettable guided tasting story you'd like to share? Have you tried to host an event that went all wrong? Get involved! Keep the conversation going in the comments.