Wynn Las Vegas Magazine by MODERN LUXURY

Wynn Las Vegas - 2017 - Issue 3 - Winter

Wynn Magazine - Las Vegas

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Page 54 of 99

53 WHAT TO DR INK WITH SNOW BEEF BECAUSE SNOW BEEF IS SO RICH, most diners order the same big red wines they would at classic steakhouses, but some get caught up in the spirit of Mizumi and instead turn to the restaurant's lengthy and well curated sake list. "We had a big party the other day that had a lot of Japanese beef and a lot of Japanese sake—I think there were eight empty bottles. They had a good time," recalls Executive Chef Devin Hashimoto. For the past two years, Aaron Baek, a certified sake som- melier, has overseen and improved Mizumi's bev- erage program, which includes signature cocktails made with Japanese whiskey, plum liqueur and sake; Japanese craft beers; sochu (a traditional Japanese distilled spirit); top-shelf American and European wines; and more than 60 types of sake. Baek began as a traditional sommelier, study- ing at a wine academy in Korea, but his career changed gears when he moved to Australia to take a job in a sushi and sake specialty restaurant. "I learned a lot about sake, and I had a friend who was brewing one of the only sakes in Australia, so I learned a lot about how it is made." That inspired him to move to Japan to take an advanced course, which he describes as a certificate. "Aaron is very modest," says Mark Thomas, Wynn's Corporate Executive Director of Wine, who hired Baek. "Less than 200 people in the entire world have com- pleted that course." "I try to make it easier for people to try and enjoy sake by simplifying things. I ask them what kinds of wine they like to drink and use the same termi- nology to describe wine and sake. Since I joined Mizumi, I divided the sake program by grades: Junmaishu (pure sake made from just rice and water), Junmai Gingo (pure sake made from highly polished rice) and Junmai Daiginjo (craft-made pure sake from very highly polished rice)." In each section, he has added detailed written descriptions of the meaning and flavors of each grade, and for each sake includes rice polishing levels, specific gravity and acidity specifications. There are also 15 sakes served by the glass or carafe, specialty styles such as unfiltered (cloudy), warm and plum sakes, and four "Sommelier Sake Flights," each with three samples and a different theme. His latest fascination is short-lived seasonal sakes. "They last only two or three months and are very hard to get in this country, and I am very excited to be introducing them at Mizumi, where they will be new for many of my customers," he says. As for pairing with Snow Beef? "When people want red wine, I recommend a full-bod- ied California, Barbaresco or Amarone. But I can also pick you a very rich and full-style sake that will be perfect."

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