Drinks

5 Great Sakes Perfect for Beginners

Try these starter sakes, recommended by the pros
5 Great Sakes Perfect for Beginners
Photo: Jouko Karvonen via Flickr

All month long, we are paying homage to the mighty grape. Grab a glass and join us as we Wine Down.

Getting into sake isn’t as hard as you might think, and thanks to increased domestic production, along with efforts by Japanese breweries to include English on labels, it’s becoming easier to pick out a good bottle.

Your best bet is talking to a professional, be it the seller at your wineshop or the sommelier at a restaurant. If you describe the kinds of wine and beer you like, or the foods you’re looking to pair it with, they can point you in the right direction. Once you try a few varieties, you’ll start to discern which characteristics you like in sake—fruity and floral, rich and nutty, filtered or unfiltered—and you’ll be able to communicate what you’re looking for.

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If you’re a beginner, here are five great sakes to start with. The first four come from sake expert Alyssa DiPasquale of the Cushman Restaurant Group, and the final one is a favorite of Karasu head bartender and Major Food Group beverage director Thomas Waugh.  

For more, try Waugh’s Thrice Rice Sake Cocktail and read “Sake It to Me.”

Ginga Shizuku “Divine Droplets” Junmai Daiginjo from Hokkaido

Yuki No Bosha Junmai Ginjo from Akita

Shichihon Yari Junmai from Shiga

Kikusui Funaguchi Can from Niigata

Tedorigawa Yamahai Junmai "Silver Mountain"

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