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7 Sake Cocktails to Try Right Now

Not just for sipping neat, sake is terrific mixed into cocktails, too.

Kyoto Sour
Kyoto Sour Image: / Tim Nusog

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.

1. Re:Birth

re:birth cocktail

 Reilly Drew

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.

Get the recipe.

2. Fields of Travel

Fields of Travel


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.

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3. Toji Moon

Toji Moon Cocktail / Tim Nusog

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.

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4. Sakura-Chan

Sakura-Chan cocktail


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.

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5. Annie Oakley

Annie Oakley cocktail

Angela Lovell

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.

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6. Federal Ave. Swizzle

Federal Ave Swizzle

The Source

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.

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7. Kyoto Sour

Kyoto Sour / Tim Nusog

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.

Get the recipe.