From conbinis to sushi shops, you can find sake just about everywhere; it is a staple in Japanese food and drink culture. So, unsurprisingly, sake is unlike any other alcoholic beverage. Sake, or nihonshu as it is called in Japanese, is a fermented rice wine that dates back thousands of years. While sake can vary greatly, the rule of thumb is to go for one with a lower polish ratio—less than 60 percent. Known as ginjou (between 50-60%) and daiginjou (less than 50%), these are the premium variety and tend to be smoother and more light-bodied. Then, you need to decide whether you want yours served cold (reishu), room-temperature (jo-on), or hot (atsukan). Each bottle is different, so you’ll need to experiment. For the summer heat, indulge in a glass of cold sake.