Home » Types Of Sake » Futsu-shu: The Everyday Sake with a Twist

Futsu-shu: The Everyday Sake with a Twist

Welcome, sake enthusiasts and curious readers! Today, we’re diving into the world of Futsu-shu, the most consumed yet least understood type of sake. Often dubbed as ‘ordinary’ or ‘table’ sake, Futsu-shu is anything but ordinary. It’s the everyday hero of the sake world, the unsung melody that plays in the background of the grand symphony of sake. So, grab your sake cup and let’s embark on this journey together.

What is Specially Designated Sake?

Before we delve into Futsu-shu, let’s first understand what ‘Specially Designated Sake’ is. In the sake world, there’s a category known as ‘Tokutei Meisho-shu’ or ‘Specially Designated Sake’. These are premium sakes that meet specific criteria such as rice polish ratio and production method. You might recognize some of them by their labels – ‘Ginjo‘, ‘Junmai‘, or ‘Honjozo‘. If you’re interested in learning more about these types, check out our detailed guide on types of sake.

Understanding Futsu-shu

So, where does Futsu-shu fit in? Simply put, Futsu-shu is any sake that doesn’t fall into the ‘Specially Designated Sake’ category. It’s the ‘everything else’ of the sake world. But don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s any less worthy of your attention. Futsu-shu can be made with a variety of techniques and ingredients, leading to a wide range of flavors and styles. It’s like the wild west of sake – unregulated, unpredictable, and full of surprises.

The Misconception of Futsu-shu as Low-Quality Sake

There’s a common misconception that Futsu-shu is inferior to specially designated sake. But let me tell you, as someone who has worked as a sake advisor in a busy restaurant in Carmel, CA, that’s far from the truth. I’ve seen firsthand how Futsu-shu can delight and surprise customers with its unique charm and versatility.

The Making of Futsu-shu

Futsu-shu is made using a variety of techniques. It can include sake brewed using rice polished to over 70%, sake containing brewer’s alcohol over the maximum prescribed amount, sake with added ingredients such as sugars or acidulants, or sake made from ungraded rice. This flexibility in the brewing process allows for a wide range of flavors and styles, making Futsu-shu a truly diverse category of sake.

The Taste Profile of Futsu-shu

Futsu-shu’s flavor profile is as diverse as its brewing methods. From light and dry to rich and sweet, there’s a Futsu-shu for every palate. Some are perfect for sipping on a warm summer evening, while others are just the thing to warm you up on a chilly winter night. And the best part? Futsu-shu is typically more affordable than premium sakes, making it a great choice for everyday enjoyment.

How to Enjoy Futsu-shu

One of the best things about Futsu-shu is its versatility. It can be enjoyed chilled, at room temperature, or warmed, depending on your preference and the specific sake. It pairs well with a wide range of foods, from sushi to grilled meats to desserts. For more tips on how to enjoy sake, check out our guide on how to drink sake.

Popular Futsu-shu Brands

There are many fantastic Futsu-shu brands out there. For instance, Hakkaisan Seishu is technically a Futsu-shu, but it’s made with rice polished down to 60% — the same polishing ratio as a Ginjo. Another great example is Dassai Togai from Asahi Shuzo, which is made from ungraded Yamadanishiki rice but still manages to be a high-quality sake. For a more extensive list of Futsu-shu brands, check out our sake reviews.

Personal Story: My Experience with Futsu-shu as a Sake Advisor

Now, let me share a little story from my time as a sake advisor at a bustling restaurant in Carmel, CA. This restaurant was renowned for its extensive sake and wine list, and I was responsible for ordering sake, liaising with representatives, and recommending sakes to customers.

One day, a customer came in looking for a sake recommendation. He was a wine enthusiast and was skeptical about sake, particularly Futsu-shu, which he’d heard was ‘ordinary’. I recommended a bottle of Futsu-shu that I knew was exceptional. He was hesitant but decided to give it a try.

The next time he came in, he made a beeline for me and said, “That Futsu-shu was one of the best drinks I’ve ever had. I’ve been missing out!” From then on, he became a regular, always eager to try a new Futsu-shu recommendation.

This experience taught me that Futsu-shu, despite its ‘ordinary’ label, has the power to surprise and delight even the most discerning drinkers. It’s a testament to the hidden gems that lie within this underrated category of sake.

The Underrated Charm of Futsu-shu

In conclusion, Futsu-shu is a category of sake that deserves more recognition. It’s versatile, affordable, and full of surprises. So the next time you’re in the mood for sake, why not give Futsu-shu a try? You might just discover your new favorite drink.

Remember, the world of sake is vast and diverse. There’s always something new to explore, whether you’re a seasoned sake enthusiast or a curious newcomer. So keep exploring, keep tasting, and most importantly, keep enjoying the journey. Kanpai!






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *