Discovering Japanese cuisine is always my favorite. Among their exquisite dishes and drinks, one of them is sake.
Sake, a widely popular drink in Japan is now popular all over the world. You shouldn’t miss this charming drink just because you can’t find it. We are here to help you with that.
Sake is available in many liquor shops and bars. Look for liquor shops that have an Asian collection. Sake is sometimes sold under the name rice wine. It is also available in many online liquor shops. Your local grocery store may have it. Also, look into your nearest brewery.
|Name||Best for||Avg Price|
|Sho Chiku Bai Classic Junmai Sake||Best value for money||$8|
|Kikusui Perfect Snow||Best unfiltered/ Nigori sake||$11|
|Dassai 39 Junmai Daiginjo||Best for splurging, also best rice polished sake||$45|
|Hakutsuru Sayuri Junmai Nigori||Best sweet sake||$8|
|Hakkaisan Tokubetsu Junmai||For enjoying both warm and cold sake||$26|
What to look for before buying sake?
There is a lot of things you may want to remember before buying sake. Amakuchi, Nigori, Namazake, Junmai. So many types for so many characteristics, you’re bound to get lost.
Or to your surprise, you may not need to remember all these types. You only need to look for these few things, for a premium sake experience-
Polished rice: Sake is made from fermented rice. The more polished the rice, the better taste and flavor you’ll get from the sake. What percentage of the rice is polished is listed on the bottle.
You should buy sake which is at least 30% polished. Because below that bar your experience with sake won’t be a good one.
Sake is also distinguished on basis of polished rice. If 40% rice is polished, it’s called Ginjo. If the number is upper than 50, it’s Daiginjo.
If there isn’t any find percentage label, any of the name above classifies the sake.
Added alcohol: Purely fermented sake is time-consuming and way pricey. So to make the process faster, alcohol is added. This case is the opposite of polished rice.
The more added alcohol, the lesser the authentic taste. Junmai represents zero added alcohol. This sake is premium than other ones.
Sake Meter: This meter shows how dry or sweet your sake is. -15 refers to sweetest, the number gradually increases to +15, which is the driest sake possible.
What aisle is sake in?
You’ll find sake in the beer, wine, and spirits aisle in any popular grocery store. There might be a section called rice wine, you’ll find sake there. As sake is a Japanese drink, your local Asian stores may have it.
The international aisle can also have sake in it. Search beside Korean, Japanese drinks.
For seasoning purposes, cooking sake is available in most grocery stores. I found cooking sake in the baking aisle. Besides oil and shortening products.
There are also many shops and restaurants specializing in Japanese cuisine. You can straight go to them and ask for sake.
Where to buy sake?
Although it’s advisable not to drink cooking sake, the difference isn’t huge. Cooking sake will be more on the saltier side.
Our favorite Walmart has only one brand of sake. This is Sho Chiku Bai Sake. It’s a Junmai type, which means zero added alcohol. The rice is also 70% polished. So it’s a great quality sake.
Kroger offers multiple choices for sake lovers. Some I recommend-
Gekkeikan Sake, another Junmai type.
Instacart has various sake on its website. Kikusui Junmai Ginjo Sake comes in a 720ml bottle. As the name suggests, it’s a Ginjo type, 40% polished. So it’s standard sake to try.
Sayuri Nigori Sake Wine is a sweet sake, it reads -11 in sake meter. You can enjoy this sake with every dish. Sayuri sake is refreshing in nature.
Sho Chiku Bai Nigori Sake is thicker and very sweet(-20). It is great as a dessert wine.
Target only has Gekkeikan Regular Sake, which I anticipated. It has an alcohol content of 15.6%
WholeFoods has different options of sake. So here are some o the best you can try-
SHO CHIKU BAI Nigori Sake. Unfiltered, so cloudy.
SHO CHIKU BAI Ginjo Sake ( Junmai Ginjo type, has fruity flavor)
TOZAI Snow Maiden Sake (Advised to serve chilled, another Nigori, Junmai type)
True sake only specializes in sake, as the name suggests. This is one of the authentic online stores to buy sake. But drinks are a little pricier here.
Although Drizly isn’t a sake specializing store, I insist you buy from here. You cannot overlook their collection. Hakutsuru Sayuri Junmai Nigori is better for those who like a milky texture.
You cannot miss the cute and gorgeous bottles of sake now. Be it online or offline, high-quality sake is available in the USA commonly. There are various types of sake, Gekkeikan is the most common. You can start with it.