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Tequila versus sake: Multicultural boozing

April 22, 2009 | 12:47 pm

Photo: Left: Bottles of tequila at Rivera in downtown. Credit: Christine Cotter / Los Angeles Times. Right: Sake at Bar Hayama in West L.A. Carlos Chavez / Los Angeles Times.

Whatever quirks of culture may divide us, it’s comforting to know we can bridge them with one act: drinking. Specifically, drinking alcohol. Nearly every culture takes pride (sometimes undeservedly so) in its native libation, from Russians with their vodka to Canadians with their Molson.* On Thursday,  you can take your pick of cultural-based boozing, exploring fermented rice wine near downtown or fermented agave plants in Hollywood.

Mystery of Sake: Jizake Investigation
Sake will be paired with hors d’oeuvres from local restaurants such as Good Girl Dinette, Urth Caffe, Shojin, Roy's Hawaiian Fusion, Rock 'n Fish and more. Benefiting the Little Tokyo Service Center, which had to give up hosting the L.A. Tofu Festival after it grew too popular, the tasting features 40 sakes with seven breweries flying in from Japan for the event. Head to the VIP room, where sake sommeliers Melanie Chang and Toshio Ueno will lead a tasting of eight additional choices, including Kikusui Setsugoro Genrokushu (a revival sake from the Genroku era) and Sechubijin Tokubetsu Junmai.
7 to 9:30 p.m., California Science Center, 700 Exposition Park Drive, L.A. $60 general; $100 VIP. (213) 473-1615, www.ltsc.org .

Small-Batch Socials: Tequila Ocho

If wine can have a terroir, why not tequila? Ammo's new monthly tasting series kicks off with an evening led by Scott Haro of Tequila Ocho. He'll focus on single-estate tequilas known for their "complexity rather than consistency of character."
5:30 to 7:30 p.m.; Ammo, 1155 N. Highland Ave., L.A. $20. (323) 871-2666, www.ammocafe.com

* If a Canadian EVER makes fun of American beer, you can win the argument with one word: Molson.

-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: Left: Bottles of tequila at Rivera in downtown. (Credit: Christine Cotter / Los Angeles Times). Right: Sake at Bar Hayama in West L.A. (Carlos Chavez / Los Angeles Times).