I'm a teetotaler. This is only partially by choice, since the basic fact of the matter is that I just don't like the taste of alcohol. I can't choke down more than half a bottle of beer and the clear liquors like vodka taste like hairspray to me.
My dad on the other hand drinks beer and vodka gimlets, but he likes sour and bitter flavors. He drowns fish in vinegar, his favorite fruit juice is grapefruit, and he was never big on potato chips until he discovered salt and vinegar kettle chips.
I like sweet or salty flavors. Note the "or", because sweet and salty, such as chocolate covered pretzels are pretty gross. So the few alcoholic beverages I do like tend to be sweet, such as red wine, brandy, and sake.
Of course the other reason I don't drink is because I'm against the general idea of impairing my judgment, inhibitions, and motor skills, but that's not important to my main topic at the moment.
As with any product, your various alcohols are available in good versions, cheap versions, and versions which are ridiculously expensive for the incremental increases in quality, primarily for the purpose of showing off your wealth and good taste while swearing you can tell the difference. I've come to discover that I like "good" sake and "cheap" sake about equally, however, it's all in how you prepare it.
In the US, sake is generally imbibed warm (as in blood temperature). In Japan, it can be prepared hot, warm, room temperature or chilled, depending on the preferences of the host, the quality of the sake, and the current season. That's all entirely too complicated for me.
As it turns out, warming sake seems to bring out the good flavors and cover the taste of cheaper versions, as well as simply making it taste more potent. So while cheap sake doesn't taste very good at room temperature or chilled, it's excellent when warmed. Likewise, while good sake is pretty good at room temperature and not much different warm, it's excellent chilled.
Which led to last night's experiment (this was, of course, leading up to an experiment). I know that vodka is generally stored in the freezer, and due to its high alcohol content (40%+ ABV) it won't freeze†. Lower alcohol content products such as beer (roundabouts 5% ABV for typical American beers) will freeze. Sake, at 15% ABV, is maddeningly in between those values and, as usual, there was no information generally available to help me out. Why would there be? Everyone who cares already knows. I find myself in these positions again and again.
† However it has been pointed out to me several times that very cheap vodka will, indeed, freeze.
Oolong says: My favourite is when vodka freezes *just slightly* and you get these gorgeous filaments of ice crystals floating in it.
So I sacrificed my poor half-full bottle of good sake to experiment, leaving it in the freezer overnight, for the promise of chilled sake at a moment's notice whenever I chose to partake.
Will sake freeze?
Yes. Crap. It's thawing out on my counter right now. I'll see if it affected the flavor at all tonight. UPDATE: It did, for the worse.
Next experiment: What is the minimum ABV required to light liquor on fire? Stay tuned!