It might be recognized as the national drink of Japan, but sake still retains an allure of mystery and intrigue here in the U.S. Made from fermented rice, this alcoholic beverage is nuanced and sophisticated, offered in a variety of different types and flavor profiles.
If you already love this drink, then you know it can be enjoyed in many ways. In addition to simply savoring it on its own, you can also experiment by mixing it into a sake cocktail! As the weather starts to warm just a little and hints of spring appear on the horizon, there's never been a better time to get out your shaker, schedule a patio date, and fill your favorite glass.
Today, we're sharing 10 sake cocktail recipes sure to please.
What Is Sake?
Before we dive into all of the different kinds of cocktails you can make with sake, let's take a closer look at what this beverage entails!
Unlike some of the more complicated alcoholic drinks out there, sake consists of just four basic ingredients. These include:
- Sakami rice
- Koji (a type of mold)
There are a few different kinds of rice that can be used to make sake. Collectively, this rice is called sakamai. During the brewing process, a mold called koji is evenly distributed over the rice to convert the starches into sugar.
The koji in the sake, as well as the different yeasts included, work together to determine the specific flavor of the sake. Most sakes have a uniquely nutty, fruity, or sweet flavor that sets them apart.
Even the quality and type of minerals in the water can have an effect on the finished project. Depending on the type of sake you choose, you may find that it's best served at room temperature, chilled, or even warmed.
Incredible Sake Cocktail to Try Tonight
Now that we've covered the basics, let's dive right into some of the best sake drinks! These cocktail recipes are all refreshingly easy to put together, but the flavors combine to create a one-of-a-kind cocktail that's sure to be a hit anywhere you serve it.
1. Sake Grapefruit Cocktail
Nothing says "bring on summertime" quite like a grapefruit's perfect blend of sweet and sour. Not only is the Sake Grapefruit Cocktail deliciously decadent, but it's also one of the most visually stunning drinks on our list! The light pink drink is reminiscent of balmy sunsets, and we're here for it.
To make this cocktail, gather the following ingredients:
- 3 ounces of Nigori sake (try Sho Chiku Bai Junmai Nigori Sake)
- 2.5 ounces of pure, distilled gin
- 3 ounces of bottled or fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice
- 1/4 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger root
- Splash of grapefruit-flavored sparkling water
- Small pinch of ground nutmeg optional)
- Ice cubes
In a shaker, combine the sake, gin, grapefruit juice, ginger, and nutmeg (if using). Add a few small ice cubes and shake for approximately 35 seconds.
Strain the cocktail into two glasses and enjoy! You can garnish with a fresh slice of grapefruit or a sprig of rosemary, if desired.
Don't let the name of this one intimidate you! Tamagozake is one of the most amazing cocktails because it combines two powerful beverages: hot sake and creamy eggnog.
If you've ever whipped up a hot toddy to help cure a head cold, then you know how potent and soothing a warm alcoholic drink can be, and this one is no exception.
To make it, you only need three ingredients. These include:
- 6.5 ounces of Honjozo sake (try Eiko Fuji Ban Ryu Honjozo Sake)
- 1 raw egg
- 1 tablespoon of honey
Heat the sake for about 90 seconds in the microwave. Then, gently whisk in the raw egg and honey. You can sprinkle in a little nutmeg for festive flavor!
3. Sake and Ginger Cocktail
When you go out for sushi, is your favorite part the bit of pickled ginger on your plate? There's just something about that zingy tartness that we can't get enough of, and this Sake and Ginger Cocktail captures it perfectly.
To make it, gather these ingredients:
- 3 ounces of sake
- 2 ounces of pickled ginger juice
- 1 ounce of simple syrup
- 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 slices of pickled ginger
- Ice cubes
Combine all of the ingredients in a shaker and shake for about 30 to 40 seconds. Strain into two glasses and serve with a slice of pickled ginger. To make the simple syrup, you can follow this easy recipe.
If you love to wind down with a good martini in the evening, you'll be happy to know that you can enjoy your favorite libation with sake! All you have to do is swap the traditional white wine vermouth with sake and you're practically good to go.
While there are a few different twists on this classic, we love this simple rendition. You can make a Saketini with either gin or vodka, though gin will give you that bite that martinis are known to deliver.
Here are the ingredients you'll need:
- 2.5 ounces of gin or vodka
- 1/2 ounce of sake
- Ice cubes
To make this cocktail, start by filling a mixing glass with ice. Then, add in the gin or vodka, followed by the sake. Stir well, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
For a light garnish, add a slice of cucumber. If you want to add a little more depth, go with a conventional olive!
5. Sake Bloody Mary
There are some cocktails that are just as good early in the morning as they are late at night. A Bloody Mary is one of them! When you swap the vodka for sake in this drink, the good news is that it's a little less potent. This means you can enjoy it even more!
Offering just the right amount of sweet heat and savory spice, this one is sure to become a new favorite.
To make it, gather together the following ingredients:
- 2 ounces of sake (try Soto Super Premium Junmai Daiginjo Sake)
- 3 ounces of tomato juice (or V8)
- A splash of Worcestershire sauce
- A splash of hot sauce (like Sriracha)
- 1 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lime juice
- Ice cubes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Celery stalk (for garnish)
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Then, pour in the sake, tomato juice, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, lime juice, and seasonings. Shake everything together for about 30 seconds.
Strain into a glass and garnish with a celery stalk or two!
6. Kyoto Sour
The best sake cocktail recipe is one that allows the versatility of the drink to shine. In the Kyoto Sour, you see how easily sake blends with the other ingredients to bring out the best of each flavor.
In addition to the rich warmth of the sake, you'll get the slight spice from the pepper, as well as the strong punch of tanginess from the citrus juices. The end result is a spectacular beverage you'll want to enjoy on any occasion.
To make this one, you'll need these ingredients:
- 3 ounces of Gekkeikan sake (try Gekkeikan Black and Gold Junmai Sake)
- 3/4 ounce of agave nectar
- 1/2 ounce of freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 dashes of green pepper sauce (like Tabasco)
- 2 slices of grapefruit
- Ice cubes
- Sprig of mint (for garnish)
Start by muddling the grapefruit and the green pepper sauce together in your cocktail shaker. Then, add the sake, agave nectar, lemon juice, and ice cubes. Shake everything for about 30 seconds until well-chilled.
Strain into a glass filled with fresh ice and garnish with the spring of mint if desired. You can also add a slice of grapefruit for a fruity finish.
7. Sake Pear Sangria
Is there anything better than spending a warm evening under the stars with a glass of chilled sangria in hand? If there is, we don't want to know about it.
This spin on the traditional Spanish cocktail features an array of star-studded ingredients, including pear-infused sake, lemons, strawberries, and basil. It's a beautiful, light pink drink that's immensely sippable and smooth.
This drink makes enough to serve a crowd, using an entire bottle of sake! To make it, gather these ingredients:
- 1 bottle of sake with notes of Asian pear (try Enter Sake Silver Junmai Ginjo Sake)
- 1 cup of fresh strawberries
- 1 whole lemon
- 1 handful of fresh basil
- Splash of club soda
In a large glass pitcher, muddle the strawberries and lemon with the basil. Then, gradually add your sake and stir everything together. Cover the pitcher and chill the drink for one to three hours.
When you're ready to serve, pour the cocktail over ice and top each glass off with a splash of club soda for that signature Sangria fizz!
8. Mango Sake Rum Cocktail
If there were ever three words destined to go together, it's mango, sake, and rum. While this one requires a little more prep work than some of the other sake drinks on this list, it's worth it for the spicy deliciousness that awaits you at the end.
If you like a cocktail with a kick, this is definitely the one for you!
Here are the ingredients you'll need to make two cocktails:
- 2 ounces of sake
- 3 ounces of rum (try Koloa Kauai Dark Hawaiian Rum)
- 2 ounces of mango juice
- 1 ounce of mango liqueur
- 1/2 an ounce of fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 an ounce of Hawaiian chili water
- 1 teaspoon of simple syrup
- A few dashes of bitters
Combine all of the ingredients into a cocktail shaker and shake for about 30 seconds to mix well. Strain into a chilled glass filled with ice and garnish with a few slices of fresh mango! To make Hawaiian chili water, you can follow these steps.
9. Sake Mojito
Made with crushed mint and a generous splash of lime, mojitos are one of the most refreshingly cool drinks you can enjoy. When you add sake, you have a cocktail that's as smooth as lemonade and just as easy to sip.
To make enough for one drink, combine these ingredients:
- 5 ounces of sake
- 1 ounce of club soda
- 6 mint leaves
- 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar
- 1/2 of a lime (chopped into small pieces)
- Ice cubes
- Sprig of mint (optional garnish)
Start by muddling the mint leaves, sugar, and lime in a cocktail shaker. Then, add the sake and shake. Strain the liquid into a glass filled with ice, and top it with club soda.
You can add the mint for a hint of color and freshness! Note that if you're adjusting this recipe for a crowd and the idea of muddling the ingredients for each drink sounds like a chore, there's a quick workaround. Once you've muddled your mint, sugar, and lime together, add it to your blender, along with your sake.
Blend everything until coarsely chopped, and strain into each glass. Then, just top them with the soda and you're good to go!
10. Little Venice
If you've ever had a Sweet Manhattan and wished for a slightly lighter version, then a Sweet Venice is your new favorite drink. Combining the exquisite taste of sake with bourbon whiskey and sweet vermouth, this cocktail is richly bodied and designed to warm you all over.
To make it, you'll need the following ingredients:
- 2 ounces of sake
- 1 ounce of vermouth
- 1 ounce of bourbon whiskey
- Ice cubes
While this one might look complex, the instructions are easy. Simply add everything to a cocktail glass and stir until combined. Then, strain it into a martini glass, top it with a cherry or a twist of orange peel, and indulge!
Which Sake Cocktail Will You Try?
These recipes reveal how complex and versatile sake can be! From sweet and fruity to spicy and herbal, there's a sake cocktail for everyone on this list, so go ahead and choose one that fits your preferred flavor profile.
When you're ready to stock your bar cart with all the essentials, we're here to make it easy.
You can shop Liquorama for all of your wine, beer, and liquor needs! Whether you visit our shop or get your essentials shipped to your doorstep, you're sure to find everything with ease. Start today by checking out our full sake collection online!