1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Saké

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SAKÉ, the national beverage of Japan. In character it stands midway between beer and wine. It is made chiefly from rice (see Brewing). Saké contains 12 to 15% of alcohol and about 3% of solid matter (extractives), 0.3% of lactic acid, a small quantity of volatile acid, 0.5% of sugar and 0.8% of glycerin. There are about 20,000 saké breweries in Japan, and the annual output is about 150 million gallons. Saké is a yellowish-white liquid, its flavour somewhat resembling that of madeira or sherry. It is warmed prior to consumption, as the flavour is thereby improved and it is rendered more digestible. The name is said to be derived from the town of Osaka which, from time immemorial, has been famous for its saké. According to Morewood it is probable that the wine called “ sack ” in England derived its name from the Japanese liquor, being introduced by Spanish and Portuguese traders (see Wine).