December 2019

Page 79

miss sake usa sake discoveries new york city

JESSICA JOLY Jessica Joly knows many Americans find sake intimidating. Maybe they can’t read the labels, or they’re scared of trying something new. Having grown up in the U.S. and Japan, Joly was perfectly positioned to dispel those fears. But a Miss Sake USA is made, not born. Joly, who won that inaugural crown in 2016, became a sake sommelier by learning the diverse flavor profiles and brewing methods that make sake so special. “I felt like I could be the bridge that connected the stories behind Japanese sake to an American consumer.” —A.M.

PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF KATHRYN ELSESSER

sake starter kit Amabuki Ginno Kurenai The “Pink Lady” will resonate with rosé lovers. Nanbu Bijin Awa Sparkling Junmai Ginjo Ditch the champagne and try this effervescent sake.

founder wheyward spirit eugene, or

EMILY DARCHUK

a food scientist by trade, Emily Darchuk has worked at NASA, Kellogg, and Coca-Cola developing new products. But when the Oregon native began consulting in the dairy industry, she saw a problem—and set out to solve it. “For every 10 pounds of milk, you can make 1 pound of cheese, so you’re left with 9 pounds of excess whey,” she says. Some producers have outlets to use this whey, like turning it into whey protein powder, but for the most part, it goes to waste. Darchuk came up with the idea of creating a special spirit by fermenting the lactose in the whey and converting it into alcohol. The result was Wheyward Spirit, a smooth, clean liquor with a similar ABV to vodka (80 proof), but more flavor: hints of natural spiciness and creamy vanilla. The lactose is stripped out in the distilling process, so it’s nothing like drinking a glass of milk. So far, Wheyward Spirit is a proverbial drop in the milk bucket when it comes to making dairy operations more sustainable, but as the company continues to grow, Darchuk has big hopes of making a larger impact. “We like to say we do things differently for the right reasons,” she says. “We’re trying to have some fun from an outsider’s perspective.” —Kelsey Ogletree

Tengumai Yamahai Junmai Bold and funky, with a hint of mushrooms, this brew is for the red wine drinkers.

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