Japanese Craft Drinks At Sushi Taro & More

Get on a roll with sushi's newest drink pairings


Plum Wine

Get on a roll with sushi's newest drink pairings

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Good sushi deserves better than Sapporo and one-size-fits-all sake. Luckily, several Japanese restaurants are expanding their pairing options to craft beers, creative cocktails and unique wines.

Sushi Taro This sushi shrine offers an impressive beer list with its immaculately fresh fish. The menu includes two varieties from Japan's Coedo brewery (pictured): the rich, sweet-potato-based Benika ($13) and the milder, wheat-based Shiro ($11). The restaurant also mixes cocktails ($10) using Japanese staples like shochu, the tart liqueur umeshu, salted pickled plums and oolong tea.

Sei Classic European dishes get turned into sushi at this boundary-pushing Penn Quarter restaurant, so wine is usually the best complement. Light and crisp, Japan's Shizen Cuvée Denis Dubourdieu ($9 per glass) is made with the country's native Koshu grapes, a white varietal similar to Pinot Grigio. Sei recommends the wine's subtle fruit and mineral notes with one of the restaurant's more robust rolls, such as the "fish and chips" ($10), made with flounder and malt vinegar, or the fierce chipotle aioli of the lobster tempura roll ($14).

Sushi Damo This Rockville destination, which specializes in creative rolls, recommends effervescent Champagne-based drinks ($8) in lieu of heavy beer pairings. The lychee-based Shanghai cocktail is just sweet enough to balance the Haru roll's ($10) layers of squid, tart plum and minty shiso.

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