My mom loves to frequent antiques shops and estate sales, and always keeps an eye out for the kind of Japanese knick knacks I love. Today, I just got a surprise package from her in the mail that contained a very vintagey sake box, sans the actual bottle of rice wine.
Why no booze? It's all coming back to me now. I remember she told me she'd found an old bottle of sake on one of her treasure-hunting expeditions, and she wondered if it'd be worth anything to me.
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I warned her: Don't drink it!
Although there are some kinds of aged sake, in general, this is one beverage meant to be consumed young and fresh. Yes, it's rice wine, but it's not something you should attempt to age yourself like an investment bottle of wine made from grapes.
When you purchase it, bring it home and store it in the fridge -- heat can dramatically alter the taste of it, and very likely in a bad way. In a cool, dark place, it can keep for six months to a year.
I found out that even refrigerated, unopened sake, after it gets old, is pretty foul. A few months ago, a friend offered me some nigorizake that had turned brownish and smelled harsh and unpleasant. Turns out, he'd been keeping it in his fridge, waiting to serve it to me at some point, for longer than he could remember. Oh well, it was a nice thought.