How do you get to become an ‘official Sake samurai’?
The title of Sake Samurai is awarded to people involved in the Sake industry that are helping spread information and culture of Japan and Sake around the world. The Japanese government and Sake community understand that there’s a huge potential on the international market for Japanese products including Sake and they’ve very aware that for many local Sake breweries international expansion is an important development to sustain each of their unique traditions that have been in families for generations. Over the past 10 years there’s actually been a decline in the number of breweries in Japan and with each closing you lose part of the culture and heritage of this tradition and it’s part of my mission to help in anyway that I can to preserve these traditions and breweries as much as possible. The title was awarded to me because of the many activities that ENTER.Sake and I have been involved in over the past few years with various projects and events promoting Sake around the world.
What it is that attracts you most about Japan?
I was always attracted to the idea of Japan before I even had the opportunity to visit and once I actually arrived I was inspired by the intricate balance that the country has with tradition and modern high end technology. This balance of old and new world, bringing together ancient crafts, techniques with the latest technology is something that you find deeply intertwined in the process of brewing modern day Sake. From my viewpoint there’s a connection between what I do with music and this brewing process. Music has been around for millennia but it was not until music & modern technology fused to create Techno, the type of music that I’m heavily involved with and with Sake, the tastes and textures that we are promoting with ENTER.Sake is of course based upon thousands of years of development, but without modern day machinery for cooling & polishing the brewing of the type of premium Sake that we all enjoy today would not be possible. Electronic music and modern Japanese Sake are both perfect balances of human craftsmanship and ingenuity developed to a new level with innovations in modern day technology.
Richie Hawtin receiving the title of Sake Samurai.© Richie Hawtin
How should sake be drunk? (cold, warm or hot?)
Sake can be enjoyed at many different temperatures depending on the type of Sake you’re serving and even the situation or food your eating however to keep things simple as we introduce premium Sake to the rest of the world it’s best to enjoy most Sake’s these days slightly chilled. If you’re up for a bit of experimentation then start chilled and then let the Sake come up to room temperature and enjoy the changes of taste, aroma and even texture. The culture of Sake is rich & deep so there’s lots of new things to learn and introduce as the world becomes more in-tune with this incredible drink!
And how do you most like to drink sake?
Depending on the time and place I can go in many directions with how I enjoy Sake. When in Japan there’s incredible opportunities to enjoy warm Sake where the locals have at least 10 different words for the various tempuratures Sake can be served at. I try to find any excuse to get back to Japan so that I can continue my Sake education by travelling the country to visit different breweries and learn more about each of their special unique and personal techniques for brewing and serving!
You market/promote 7 different types of sake. What are the main differences between them?
The starting point of Sake is probably the different types of Grades, Junmai, Junmai-Ginjo and Junmai Dai-Ginjo. Each of these three specify how far the rice has been polished (or milled) during the brewing and each focus in on different characteristics of Sake, some with more fruity tastes, different aromas or even perceived purity. However, after you get used to the grades you can also dig deeper into the location of the breweries, the different areas brewing characteristics, the various types of water & rice that maybe used in the brewing process and so forth. What we are trying to achieve and why our boutique collection is called ENTER.Sake is give a good general overview of the different types and grades of Sake and give people a great introduction into the world of premium Sake. Each of our Sake’s give another step deeper into the various tastes and styles of Sake and allow people to start their own journey of discovery.
ENTER.Sake© Richie Hawttin
Sake goes well with Japanese food- do you think it could accompany typical Ibizan dishes?
Sake is one of the most FLEXIBLE drinks you’ll find around and with it’s relatively low acidity you’ll usually find that Sake pairs well with most western food. We’ve done a lot of tastings on Ibiza and found that a lot of the local produce works very well with Sake, try local tomatoes and fruit with some wonderfully fatty Jamon Iberico followed by simply grilled Mediterranean fish and you’ll have a winning combination!
Is it the sort of drink you can take to a party?
My first way into Sake was at the dining table before my early gigs in Japan and the feeling that I left the dinner with gave me the perfect heady buzz for going directly into a club. As I become more obsessed with Sake I found increasingly that Sake is probably one of the best “club” drinks there is, specially for those late & long sessions where the purity of Sake and the perfectly balanced alcohol content of around 16% just fit in with the type of atmosphere I was trying to project with the music I was playing in my sets. I guess I can’t tell for sure if Sake works with all types of Music, but definitely in my experience, Sake and Electronic Music is a winning combination!!!
Describe your ENTER party experience- how was it?
ENTER.Sake was launched at ENTER. and actually the idea of creating a Sake bar at ENTER. was one of the reasons why ENTER. started in the first place ?? Ha Ha, really. We had been working on a small Sake bar in Berlin but had trouble getting everything to come together with me being on the road so much and not having enough time and focus while in Berlin to really create something special. When the opportunity came to start ENTER. on Ibiza there were many concepts that were flying around in my brain, but the idea of having various distinct rooms and atmospheres throughout the club was paramount to the overall concept. Upon walking through Space on our first visit, each of the rooms concepts quickly materialized in my mind with the ENTER.Sake bar always being an important part! Over the last four years our Sake bar on Space’s terrace gave us the opportunity to test many ideas and slowly start learning about how to bring my two passions of Music & Sake together in a unique and powerful way.
What is the ‘sake week’ you have planned in Ibiza this year all about?
Since we are not doing ENTER. this year weekly on Ibiza we’re planning a number of special ENTER.Sake events around the gigs that I’ll be doing at each club. We’ll be hosting a special Sake themed dinner at Ushuaia opening and at the Pascha restaurant the night I play with Solomun and we’ll also continue our yearly collaboration with David Reartes at LIPPS during the first week of August. Each event will be unique with the main focus on introducing more and more people to the tastes of Japanese Sake and combining it with two other things that we all love and need for a great night out, beautiful food and incredible music!
Sake Sake event© Richie Hawtin