One surefire way to recuperate from the tundra-like temperatures in Chicago this week is with liquor. And lots of it. The stars have aligned, because this week also happens to be Sake Week at Roka Akor, providing ample opportunity to sip sakes with the pros and learn about the storied Asian spirit, all while warming your insides with a smooth, silky layer of booze. The event serves to celebrate sake in all its glory, while educating the public and removing any intimidating stigma surrounding it. Hosted in conjunction with certified sake specialist (I want that title) Aya Nomoto of Tenzing Wine and Spirits, Sake Week is an exploration of various sakes via tastings at lunch throughout the week, along with a little bit of history. Don't worry, there aren't any report cards involved. On select days, Eric Swanson of Wirtz Beverage Group and Tenzing will also be on hand. A certified sake expert and an advanced sake professional, Swanson is considered one of the world's best sake aficionados.
Participating guests lunching at Roka Akor throughout the week have the opportunity to sample nine different sakes, offering a range of flavors, styles, and textures. With some of the greatest sakes in the world in attendance, the $20 price tag is a bargain, especially considering half the cost is going to the Greater Chicago Food Depository. The tasting takes place in the lounge preceding lunch, and once it's through, guests select their favorite and enjoy a glass of it with their meal.
Sakes to be sampled include Narutotai, Wakatake Onikoroshi Daiginjo, Jozen Mizuno Gotoshi, Eiko Fuji Honkara, Seikyo Junmai, Kikusui Junmai Ginjo, Dassai 50, Kenbishi Mizuho, and Mizbasho Ginjo. Call 312-477-7652 for reservations.