This year, letters to Father Christmas might well read a little different, with kids probably asking for more stuff to watch on Netflix and faster WiFi speeds to entertain them during these crazy times.
Adults and parents? Well, apart from a vaccine, some great holiday booze may well be top of the list to see off 2020 with a bang! And if that’s the case, we’re ready for the shopping rush.
This year, Sake Central has partnered with the LANDMARK Christmas Market to create a one-stop shop for all your festive party gifting needs. Located in the heart of the Market, inch your way through the cutesy trees, fairy lights and fellow shoppers weighed down with Christmas shopping bags, then take some me time to enjoy a cup of festive mulled wine in the sanctuary of Sake Central’s pop up.
Our own Sake Samurai, Elliot Faber, has curated a special selection of sake that will meet your shopping requirements, budget and party plans, there’s bottles to impress, bottles for quaffing and something too for the sake savvy.
One of our top suggestions to add to your Christmas shopping list would be our very own ‘NOTO 88’ from Ishikawa Prefecture. This is an exclusive for Sake Central in 2020 and very limited edition, get in sooner rather than later to bag your bottle. This is what the industry is terming (and trending) as MNG, so that’s unfiltered (muroka), unpasteurised (nama) and undiluted (genshu). Basically, you’re getting a real taste of the tank’s contents with no interference after fermentation. Great gift for the sake purist.
Nihonshu Oendan is the cooperative of artisan breweries behind ‘NOTO 88’ and we’re big fans of their work. A good parallel tasting (and damn fine gift!) would be a selection of their member brewery sakes. We have Kakeya, Kunisaki and Noto, each from a different Prefecture, and to pit them against each other is a great way to get a grasp of how terroir can affect what’s in your glass. Their respective labels are great too for any friends or family with a love of all things arty!
Any music fans might well be delighted to receive a bottle of ENTER.Sake - Gold, Silver or Bronze (even more delighted with all three!) - which is a love affair project by none other than Ibiza anthem legend Richie Hawtin. ENTER.Sake is only available through Sake Central in Asia, you can’t even get it in Japan, so it’s a truly unique gift choice.
If rap music is more your thing then Storm Cowboy is something well worth checking out. Back in 2019, Ohmine Shuzo in Yamaguchi Prefecture propelled itself onto the red carpet with a truly epic collaboration between fashion store Human Made 1928 in Kyoto and singer Pharrell Williams to create some great sake, available in an epic collector’s white bottle. At just 38% this is well into daiginjo territory and will be a great pairing for the festive season’s most delicate appetizers.
For a bit more fun, there’s the pretty ‘Maru’ one cups, great little stocking fillers (not for the kids of course!) and five characters to choose from - our favourite is the lion dance mask. Brewed in Hyogo Prefecture, a sake production heartland, this is honest futsushu sake, the grade of sake that makes up over three quarters of domestic consumption in Japan. Simple, easy drinking and fun - a pretty good combination and at 180ml serve, these make great office party gifts too.
Sunday’s famous range of spirits are also here for those looking for something a little stronger. There’s our Japanese Whisky from Fukushima Prefecture and our Coffee Shochu from Hyogo - the sort of tipples you can leave out for Santa on Christmas Eve. Don’t forget the carrot for Rudolf!
So get ahead of the festive shopping chaos and head to Hong Kong's premier shopping destination at LANDMARK Atrium on 3/F, open 11:00am until 8:00pm every day until December 31.
Our expert team is ready with more great advice, and the mulled wine awaits you too!
A certified sake sommelier, Will Jarvis is the owner and founder of Sake Matters, consulting for a variety of clients in Hong Kong and around the world. He has over 20 years’ experience working in the F&B industry in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, is a trained chef and holds a diploma in hospitality.