Sake, the Japanese alcoholic beverage made from rice (and sometimes referred to as "rice wine") is most often sipped neat, frequently with a sushi meal. But sake's flavor characteristics—fruity, nutty, and often slightly sweet—make it perfect for mixing into cocktails as well. Many bartenders around the country are catching on to this and using the beverage for inventive drinks. These are seven to try.
A few dashes of tartaric acid solution transform this cocktail from delicious to truly memorable. It brightens the combination of nigori sake, two brandies, chamomile liqueur, and blackberry-sage tea syrup to a perfect balance. The garnish of edible flowers makes a crowning touch.
This elegantly herbaceous mix of green Chartreuse, zucchini water, and bitter melon bitters gets topped with sparkling sake for a festive touch. With the zucchini water's vegetable base and vitamin C powder, you can almost tell yourself it's a healthful indulgence.
This cocktail was created in tribute to Japan's celebration of the winter solstice, known as tōji, which is observed by sitting in yuzu-infused baths and eating auspicious foods such as red beans and lotus root. Its base is made with Benedictine, yuzu and lemon juices, red bean syrup, and yuzu marmelade, which all gets topped with a frothy mix of nigori sake and egg white that's been shaken until foamy, plus a dusting of grated nutmeg.
Inspired by Japan's signature cherry blossoms, this cocktail mixes sake, sakura liqueur, cherry-flavored kirsch, and lemon juice to produce a delicate drink evocative of the country's favorite season.
This three-ingredient cocktail is anything but ordinary. In it, sake, a herbaceous liqueur, and a hibiscus-thyme shrub combine, making for a "full herbal, floral explosion," says the drink's creator. Don't pass up trying it yourself.
Gin and sake meet in this cocktail, accented by coconut water, lime and turmeric juices, and an intriguing spiced syrup that adds incredible depth to the drink. It's all swizzled together with crushed ice, making for a fun, flavorful and refreshing cocktail.
This cocktail shows off sake's versatility in combining with and complementing other ingredients. It starts with grapefruit slices muddled with green Tabasco sauce, which are then joined in the shaker by sake, lemon juice, and agave nectar. The drink is garnished with an additional grapefruit slice and a mint sprig, for a fresh and spicy sour-format cocktail.