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12 tasty, versatile sake cocktails to whip up and enjoy

Try these delicious sake cocktails to up your mixology game

A sake set consisting of a green glass sake bottle and a short glass
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Odds are, you’re either not drinking enough sake or you’re not mixing it right. Fortunately, this lovely nectar of fermented rice is nimble and cocktail-ready, once you get the hang of it.

Female hand pouring sake
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What is sake?

Sake is the national drink of Japan, it’s an alcoholic beverage that is made of fermented rice, water, yeast, and Aspergillus oryzae mold, which is also known as koji. The mold is used to convert the starch in the rice to sugar. The rice used in the process of making sake is a special sakamai rice that is high in starch and low in protein. The rice is highly milled (or polished) to remove the outer hull and some of the bran. Highly polished sake rice will lead to a smoother final product.

Once the sake has been distilled, it is generally aged for a year or more before it is bottled. Sake can be served either hot or cold, depending on personal preference. As a general rule of thumb, fine sake is better served slightly chilled, while cheaper sake benefits from being served slightly warm.

Monica Samuels is the director of sake and spirits at Vine Connections. The company specializes in sake imports and boasts a nice lineup of varieties, spanning all kinds of styles and flavors. We had her offer some of her favorite sake cocktail creations so that you can experience firsthand just how special the stuff can be.

“Sake is clean, refreshing, and is packed with subtle fruit and floral notes that are fun to amplify when mixing in cocktails,” she says. “The low ABV — 15% on average — also makes sake cocktails more sessionable, and a better-for-you choice overall as they require much less in terms of sugary mixers.”

In other words, ditch the stereotypical Sake Bomb and go for something a little more sophisticated and tasty. Here are some great sake cocktails to sip on.

Ume Spritz Sake Cocktail
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Great sake cocktails to try

Ume Spritz

Ingredients:

  • 3 oz. Tozai Blossom of Peace Sake
  • Mango La Croix Sparkling Water

Method:

  1. Pour Blossom of Peace over ice in a tall glass and top with Mango La Croix.
  2. Garnish with an edible flower or cherry.
Winter Spritz Cocktail
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Sakura Smash

Ingredients:

  • 3 oz Tozai Blossom of Peace Plum Sake
  • 6 fresh cherries
  • 6 fresh mint leaves
  • 2 oz pomegranate juice
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • splash of soda

Method:

  1. Muddle cherries and mint in a shaker.
  2. Add Blossom of Peace Plum Sake, juices, and soda.
  3. Serve over ice. Garnish with a lemon wedge and a sprig of mint.
Mango Maiden Sake Cocktail
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Mango Maiden

Ingredients:

  • .5 cup Tozai Snow Maiden Sake
  • .5 cup mango nectar
  • .5 cup fresh or frozen mango chunks
  • .5 cup ice
  • .25 cup coconut milk
  • splash of coconut or dark rum
  • juice of ½ lime

Method:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.
  2. Serve in a tall glass and garnish with fresh mint.
Well of Wisdom Sake Cocktail
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Tea of Wisdom

Ingredients:

  • 3 oz Tozai Well of Wisdom Sake
  • 3 oz brewed and chilled green tea
  • ⅓ cup fresh cantaloupe chunks, muddled in 1 tbsp simple syrup

Method:

  1. Combine all in a shaker and add a few ice cubes.
  2. Shake vigorously and strain into a martini glass.
  3. Garnish with melon ball pick.
Citrus Basil Typhoon-Tini Sake Cocktail
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Citrus Basil Typhoon-Tini

Ingredients:

  • 3 oz Tozai Typhoon Sake
  • 3 oz freshly squeezed lemonade
  • 2 large fresh Thai basil leaves

Method:

  1. Roughly chop Thai basil.
  2. Combine Typhoon and lemonade with ice in a shaker and serve with basil garnish.
Ruby Jewel Sake Cocktail
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Ruby Jewel

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz Tozai Living Jewel Sake
  • 2 oz Pama liqueur
  • 2 oz pomegranate juice
  • .25 cup pitted fresh sweet cherries
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • club soda

Method:

  1. Muddle cherries with Living Jewel, PAMA, and pomegranate juice in a shaker.
  2. Add a few ice cubes and lemon juice and shake vigorously.
  3. Strain and add a splash of club soda.
  4. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Strawberry Snowjito Sake Cocktail
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Strawberry Snow-Jito

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz Tozai Snow Maiden Sake
  • 4 fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 4 large mint leaves, torn
  • 2 teaspoons agave nectar
  • juice of ½ lime
  • 2 oz club soda

Method:

  1. Muddle strawberries in Snow Maiden Sake with mint, agave, and lime juice in a shaker.
  2. Add ice and shake, strain into a tall glass.
  3. Finish with club soda and a garnish of mint.
Plum Sour Sake Cocktail
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Plum Sour

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz Tozai Blossom of Peace Sake
  • 1 oz 800 Generations Shochu
  • .5 oz lemon juice
  • .5 oz Aperol

Method:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a shaker and strain over ice.
  2. Serve with a cherry garnish.
Peaceful Hanami Sake Cocktail
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Peaceful Hanami

Ingredients:

  • 1 Frozen Bushido Sake Can
  • 1.5 oz Tozai Blossom of Peace Sake
  • .75 oz lemon juice
  • .25 oz Marascino Liqueur
  • .25 oz simple syrup
  • 2 dashes of Peychaud’s Bitters
  • orange peel expression

Method:

  1. Freeze Bushido can overnight.
  2. Add all ingredients into a shaker.
  3. Shake, strain into a coupe glass, and express orange peel over top. 
ward eight cocktail
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Whisky Blossom

Ingredients:

  • 3 oz Tozai Blossom of Peace
  • 1 oz Sunday’s Whisky
  • .5 oz lime juice
  • splash of soda water
  • lime

Method:

  1. Build over ice in a tall glass and top with a splash of soda water.
  2. Garnish with a lime.
rob roy cocktail cherry garnish
Christian Kargl / Getty Images

Ganymede

(Created by Blake Walker)

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz Narutojai Ginjo Nama Genchu Sake
  • .25 oz Lustau Los Arcos amontillado sherry
  • 1 teaspoon Cherry Heering
  • .5 teaspoon Plymouth Sloe Gin
  • .25 oz fresh lemon juice
  • .25 oz cane sugar syrup

Method:

  1. Stir all ingredients over ice then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  2. Garnish with a brandied cherry.
Saketini Sake Cocktial
Flickr/framboise

Saketini

(Created by Bobby Flay)

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 oz dry sake
  • 1 oz vodka
  • 1 Japanese cucumber, cut into 1/4 rounds
  • chipped ice

Method:

  1. Combine sake and vodka in a cocktail shaker with the chipped ice and shake well.
  2. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a slice of Japanese cucumber.
Topics
Mark Stock
Mark Stock is a writer from Portland, Oregon. He fell into wine during the Recession and has been fixated on the stuff since…
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