Pairing sake with food

Sake, a traditional Japanese fermented rice alcohol, is a versatile drink that pairs well with many foods from around the world.

Sake 101

Before pairing sake with food, it's a good idea to know about a few basic types and the concept of rice polishing.

  • Junmai: pure rice sake, with no additives like additional sugar or alcohol. 

  • Honjozo: sake brewed with a small amount of distilled alcohol to bring out flavours and aromas. The rice used must have been polished so that 70% or less of the rice grain remains. More polishing = generally a lighter, fresher, and more delicate sake.

  • Ginjo: sake polished so that 60% or less of the rice grain remains. Even more minimum polishing.

  • Daiginjo: sake polished so that 50% or less of the rice grain remains. Most minimum polishing. 

Pairing Sake with Food

There are a few easy strategies to use when pairing sake with food.

Japanese dishes

One sure-fire easy pairing idea is to consider sake with Japanese or other Asian dishes. However, don't be afraid to consider pairing sake with North American dishes too!