Saké could be the most complicated alcoholic beverage in the world. First, the name’s not even accurate. “Saké” simply means “alcoholic beverage.” The accurate Japanese word is “nihonshu,” referring to what we call “rice wine.” Except that it’s not really a wine, since it’s made from grain, and though it’s brewed (like beer), it’s not beer either.
New Jersey native Jeff Cioletti feels your pain, and this certified “Kikisake-shi” (saké sommelier) offers Sakepedia as a roadmap, manual and BS detector for the saké greenhorn. He takes the reader swiftly through saké’s history and the mechanics of its production. He delineates the “regions” of production, identifies principal styles, and offers tasting notes, cocktail recipes and a list of top saké breweries in Japan and—yes!—the USA. Indispensable.
– Bruce Collier
EDITOR’S CHOICE – AUDIOBOOK OF THE YEAR
Audible, Narrated by Scott Brick
My expectations weren’t very high for this one—I mean, how could Mr. Iles even come close to his outstanding Natchez Burning trilogy? But not only has he topped it, the story—about a Washington, D.C. journalist who butts heads with the guys that run his old hometown (they’re called the Poker Club but might as well be named the Good Ol’ Boys)—feels like the perfect one for the Trump era. And it fuels one of the best performances to date from Scott Brick, who will make your Beachcomberland commute a lot less excruciating.