Was nihonshu (what English refers to as "sake") always called nihonshu, or was it only called that once western alcoholic beverages were introduced to Japan?
The 日本国語大辞典's earliest cite for 日本酒 (nihonshu) is 1886, in Tsubouchi Shoyo's 内地雑居 未来之夢, which is to judge from the title a book about foreigners in Japan. I'd say the chances are good that 日本酒 (nihonshu) is a recent coinage, and before that, the drink was simply called 酒 (sake).
Incidentally, again according to the 日本国語大辞典, the word 葡萄酒 (budōshu) for "[grape] wine" has been around for at least 500 years.
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