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A brewed alcoholic beverage made from fermented rice. Sake is also used as a generic term for all alcoholic drinks. Today there are about 3,000 manufacturers of sake in Japan. The alcohol content of sake is about 32 proof. A good-quality sake has a subtle blend of the so-called five flavors (sweetness, sourness, pungency, bitterness, and astringency) and a mellow fragrance. There are also carbonated, sweet, dry, hard, and aged types. Sake is customarily served hot in a small earthenware bottle known as a tokkuri and drunk from small cups called sakazuki. (adapted from Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1993)

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