Sweet Sake Vermouth 'Japanese Bermutto'
- A uniquely Japanese interpretation of a classic sweet red vermouth crafted by the Tsutsumi Distillery in the Kumamoto Prefecture in Kyushu, Japan
- Made from a Junmai sake base and fortified with 100% rice-based shochu
- Full botanical list includes yomogi (Japanese mugwort), yuzu, kabosu (a high acid citrus fruit), sansho peppercorn, and ume (Japanese green plum)
- Sweetened with Okinawan raw cane sugar
- Richer and more robust than the drier, flagship Bermutto with aromas of stewed cherry, orange peel, brown sugar, and wood spice; the palate is bright and acidic with the kabosu and yomogi notably dialed up, lending notes of black tea, tart cherry, and citrus zest; the ume is prominent throughout, providing subtle marzipan and oxidized fruit notes similar to umeshu (Japanese plum liqueur)
- 18% ABV
Oka Kura Bermutto (a Japanese phonetic spelling of vermouth), continues its exploration of vermouth and aromatized, fortified sake with this sweet expression. Building upon a rebalancing of the four base botanicals of the drier, core Bermutto, Sweet Bermutto incorporates a powerful fifth ingredient: a bitter Japanese plum called ume. Ume’s tart astringency is right at home in this bitter botanical blend and is perfectly complemented and balanced by raw cane sugar from Okinawa.
Produced by the legendary Tsutsumi Shuzo, who have been producing shochu in the Kumamoto Prefecture in Kyushu, Japan, for nearly 150 years, Oka Kura Bermutto is an aromatized sake fortified with shochu. Bermutto, a Japanese phonetic spelling of vermouth, is a uniquely Japanese interpretation of the classic fortified wine. The parallels are obvious—both begin with a low-proof fermented alcoholic beverage, which is then bittered with wormwood, flavored with citrus and herbs, and finally fortified with a distillate. But while vermouth is built around a base of wine and typically fortified with a neutral distillate, Oka Kura Bermutto is made from Junmai sake and fortified with 100% rice shochu.
Junmai sake refers to “pure rice” sake which is made from rice, water, yeast, and koji with no additional sugar, alcohol, or flavoring added during production. Junmai sakes must use rice polished to at least 70%, or rather, with rice that has had at least 30% of its outer layers polished away. It is typically characterized by bold and earthy rice flavors, a rich body, and slight acidity. Meanwhile, shochu is a low proof spirit most commonly made by distilling rice, barley, buckwheat, sweet potato, or sugar cane. Oka Kura uses a 100% rice shochu.
Sake producers have a long history of adding botanicals to their products, much like wines such as vermouth and quinquina have been aromatized. In that same tradition, Oka Kura fortifies their aromatized sakes with shochu, just as vermouths are fortified. Bermutto uses yomogi, a Japanese mugwort, as its primary bittering agent in addition to the Japanese citrus fruits yuzu and kabosu, and sansho peppercorn, a citrusy peppercorn which produces a mouth-numbing effect. Additionally, Sweet Bermutto contains ume, a bitter and astringent Japanese plum used in a wide variety of culinary and alcoholic applications throughout Japan, and is sweetened with raw cane sugar from Okinawa.
Richer and more robust than the drier, flagship Bermutto with aromas of stewed cherry, orange peel, brown sugar, and wood spice; the palate is bright and acidic with the kabosu and yomogi notably dialed up, lending notes of black tea, tart cherry, and citrus zest. The ume is prominent throughout, providing subtle marzipan and oxidized fruit notes with an acidity similar to umeshu (Japanese plum liqueur). Oka Kura Sweet Bermutto is right at home in a wide variety of cocktail applications—from spritzes and highballs to cocktails calling for sweet vermouth, quinquina, or americano. 18% ABV.