Murai Family Sugidama (Cedar Ball) Junmai Ginjo Sake
Koi Restaurant & Lounge, Planet Hollywood, $32 for 300 ml
Thu, Jan 15, 2009 (midnight)
On the auspicious occasion of the inauguration of America’s 44th president, I personally will be toasting the exeunt of the 43rd president and his cohorts with sake, a tribute to President-elect Obama’s natal state of Hawaii, which is also the 43rd-largest state, home to the first sake brewery in the U.S. (1908) and host to the annual largest sake tasting outside of Japan. But why Cedar Ball sake? The sugidama (“cedar ball”) or smaller sakabayashi (“sake forest”) is literally a cedar ball that hangs outside a sake brewery. Put out fresh and green like a wreath when new sake is made, the ball indicates that the sake is ready to drink when it has dried completely to brown. The Murai Family’s proprietary Cedar Ball Junmai Ginjo (premium sake) is medium dry and full-bodied with a lush earthiness, rich melon favors, hints of fresh rain and a long, layered tropical finish. Drink cold and enjoy with something—or someone—rather spicy while watching CNN’s live coverage.