Infused sake

Fruitful flavors and colors enhance this Japanese favorite

The infusion trend that started with vodka has hit sake, the popular Japanese rice wine. At Ponzu in San Francisco, general manager Robert Robinson adds fresh pineapple or mango, and at Tengu in L.A.'s Westwood neighborhood, litchi is a popular addition. As the fruit steeps, it gradually transfers flavor and color to the clear wine, naturally enhancing sake's fruity and floral qualities. It's easy to make these cool aperitifs at home; just allow 5 days for the fruit to work its magic. You can use almost any sake, but Robinson likes Sho Chiku Bai Classic Junmai Sake.

Infused sake. In a 4- to 6-cup widemouthed jar, combine 1 bottle (750 ml.) sake and 1 cup sliced peeled fresh pineapple or sliced peeled, pitted firm-ripe mango. Cover and chill until sake has a subtle fruit flavor, about 5 days. Lift out fruit with a slotted spoon and discard. Serve cold ― the sooner, the better. Leftover sake (without fruit) will keep up to 1 week when stored airtight in the refrigerator. Makes about 6 servings.

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