- JT Meleck Distillers
The Difference Between Rice Vodka and Sake
The most common response we get from consumers is that our rice vodka both reminds them and taste like sake. While rice is the main ingredient in both products, and might have similar aromas, they are very different in how they are made and taste. Let's explore those differences...
Did you know...Sake is NOT a spirit. While enjoying your sake experience in a small glass that resembles a shot glass, sake is not a spirit like vodka is. Sake is actually a brewed alcohol like beer and wine.
Now, those of you who dabble, or are experienced, in the distilling process know that all spirits are born from brewing, but not everything will progress from brewing into distilling. When you're cooking vodka, you'll start the process in the fermentation stage which is basically brewing beer. The fermenting stage takes the grain of choice, in our case rice, and allows the yeast to turn the sugar into alcohol. Sake does not leave the brewing process, you are basically creating brewed alcohol made from rice juice. The brewing stage is only the first step in the process of creating a spirit like vodka. It must go through the distilling process where it heats and cools, keeping the good stuff and dumping the bad, until we have a clear white spirit that is roughly 191 proof.
191 proof...are you creating rubbing alcohol? Absolutely not. It is an industry standard that you get your vodka to a 190/191 range. From there, your spirit will be watered down until it gets to 40%, or 80 proof before moving to the bottling stage. The comparison to rubbing alcohol actually comes from the amount of times you distill it. The more you distill, the more your grain is being stripped out, and the closer to a rubbing alcohol taste profile you're getting to (and cheaper price). We only distill our vodka one time so the sweetness of the rice remains in the smell and taste. Which is why so many people think it's similar to sake.
As mentioned above, our rice vodka lives at 40%ABV or 80 proof while sake will live somewhere between 5 and 12% similar to beer and wine. So, while sake and our rice vodka are both made from rice, they are not one in the same. Besides sharing an ingredient and a similar aroma, they don't have much else in common.