- rice wine
Wikipedia Article About Sake on Wikipedia
Sake (Japanese: 酒; pronounced IPA: [sɑ.kɛ] Listen (help·info)) is a Japanese alcoholic beverage, brewed mainly from rice. In casual English usage it is widely referred to as "rice wine", although government regulations are more likely to classify it as a malt liquor.
The rice wine known in the west as "sake" is a specific type called nihonshu (日本酒) "Japanese alcohol" in Japanese. In Japan, the word sake simply means alcoholic beverage, and regionally, it can take on more specific meanings. In Southern Kyushu, sake usually refers to a distilled beverage, potato shochu (imo-jochu 芋焼酎). Shōchu refers to a distilled spirit made with koji (麹 or 糀). In Okinawa, sake refers to shōchu made from sugar cane. On the other hand, sake can also mean Okinawa's other distilled beverages, awamori (泡盛), literally "bubble top", or kūsū, literally "old drink". These latter forms of sake are distilled from long-grain rice and kurokōji (黒麹) which means black koji.