What IS sake? Is it a spirit? Is it a wine? A beer? Well -- good question. Incorrectly referred to as a fortified rice wine because of its taste and texture, sake is actually made of fermented rice, not unlike beer... but think of sake as being in a league all its own. It's important to note, however, that unlike beer, sake typically has a 16% alcohol content. And just like there are different subsets of beer and wine, there are different types of sake. Each distinct variety is classified by the percentage of the rice milled away and how much of the grain remains to ferment.
We learned that and a whole lot more from the experts at Las Vegas's Shibuya at MGM Grand. Named for the Tokyo shopping district, this 11-year fixture of the Vegas Strip has over 125 sakes and the necessary expertise to help you make the most of them. We sat down with their sommelier Emily Vu as well as MGM Grand's Wine Manager Bruno Bonnet to get the skinny on ordering like someone in the know. (Aside: while sake and wine are by no means the same, as we mentioned above, the skills required to manage selections and make recommendations nicely overlap).