Sake, a premium Japanese liquor, is often called a rice wine. In actuality, rice starch is converted to sugar, which is converted to alcohol by yeast, thus the sake brewing process is actually more closely related to beer. Whatever the science behind it, this small San Francisco
shop that opened in 2003 was once the only shop in the country dedicated entirely to sake. Though it's not alone anymore, it is still a local temple to some of the world's best, with more than 250 labels. Owner Beau Timken has spent more than two decades learning and seeking out the best. He holds two professional sake-tasting licenses and is a master sake sommelier. He also authored a book called Sake: A Modern Guide
that includes drink recipes as well as pairing suggestions. He dares you to try it with more than just sushi! Drop in, ask questions of the knowledgeable staff, and most important, sip.