Sake or rice wine is a traditional Japanese alcoholic beverage. It’s been consumed on its own for centuries now. However, times are changing, and more and more people are finding sake to be an inventive way to create new cocktails. Indeed, today sake is not only a drink to enjoy during a ceremony or dinner, it’s now becoming known as a terrific base to use with cocktails. If you find yourself lost in a sea of sake when it comes to knowing the varieties, history and cultural function, you’re not alone. Fortunately, the internet provides you with enough knowledge to get a good grasp on the topic before you begin to mix. So, as summer is fast approaching, it couldn’t hurt to learn how to make basic sake cocktails as a way to offer variation as well as surprise your dinner guests.
10. Sake Mojito
For those hot city days or nights, give the Sake Mojito a try. You’ll find its refreshing taste to be crisp and delicious, just the thing to take the heat off. Simple to make, all you’ll need are a good quality sake, around 12 or so fresh mint leaves, sugar syrup, muddler and 1/2 of a lime sliced into wedges. Rip all leaves into tiny pieces. Next, take the lime wedges and squeeze their juice into the shaker. Add 1 teaspoon of simple syrup then fill the shaker 2/3rds with ice. Add 3 ounces of dry sake and 1 ounce of plum wine, shake and pour into a glass.
9. Cucumber Sake-tini
The following sake cocktail recipe was developed by one of Seattle’s best chefs, Kathy Casey. Take care with this one, as we hear that it can pack quite a wallop in the taste department. Let’s start by gathering our ingredients: 3/4 cup of gin, 1/4 cup of good quality sake, 1/4 cup of fresh squeezed lime juice, 2 cups of diced cucumber minus skin and seeds, 1/2 cup of frozen green grapes, 1/4 cup of fresh mint leaves, 2 tablespoons of agave. Take the sake, gin, juice, cucumber, frozen grapes, mint leaves and agave, add a dash of sea salt and blend. Enjoy!
8. Plum Spritzer
If you’re new to the world of sake, then one thing you’ll soon realize, that sake is extremely versatile when it comes to fruits, especially the Japanese plum or “ume”. When sake is left to infuse with the Japanese plums, the result is called umeshu. For the plum spritzer, you’ll need the following ingredients: umeshu and soda water. First, make the plum umeshu using sake. When finished, take 3 parts umeshu to 2 parts soda water. Garnish with an orange peel and there you have it, your sake plum spritzer!
7. The Glass Slipper
This next cocktail was developed by Uncle Pete’s Cocktail Shop. Be warned, this is quite the robust cocktail, and can rock the socks off those new to cocktails, so know your audience well for this one. To start, get a tall mixing glass and drop in a lemon peel, 1-1/2 an ounce of Genever, 1/2 an ounce of gin, 3/4 of an ounce of sake, 1/4 of an ounce of yellow chartreuse, and dash of turmeric bitters (optional). Finally, stir all contents and pour into a Coupe glass.
6. Sakura Smash
For the Sakura Smash, you’re going to need a muddler. A muddler is akin to a pestle, except it’s made especially for mixing drinks. A muddler functions to take solid ingredients such as lime slices or mint leaves, and mash them together in order to extract their essence. To make the best Sakura Smash, get 3 ounces of Tozai Blossom of Peace Sake, 6 cherries, 6 mint leaves, the juice of 1/2 a lemon, 2 ounces of pomegranate juice, and some soda. Grab a shaker and place the leaves and cherries inside, and proceed to muddle them. Next, add the plum sake, the juices and a bit of soda. Serve in an ice-filled glass.
5. Cherry Sake Cocktail
Spring is upon us. This season is a favorite of the many who enjoy the sweetness of the season, the temperate weather and of course, cherry blossoms. To celebrate spring, we’re going to make a Cherry Sake Cocktail. Created by blogger Stephanie Wise author of the book, “Comfort Baking”, this cocktail will give you a fruity and refreshing drink. To start, you’ll need 2/3 of a cup of dark cherries, 3/4 of a cup of sake, ginger ale and red food coloring if desired. Grab 2 tall glasses and fill them evenly with cherries. Muddle the cherries. Next, add ice and 2 shots of sake. Top it all off with ginger ale, add food coloring if desired.
4. Coco Geisha
This unique and delicious sake cocktail pairs the familiar flavor of sake with coconut. If it sounds an odd pairing, well it is. But sometimes the world’s most odd pairings can become one of its favorite blends. This cocktail was created by Simon Difford in 2021 at the Clocktower Bar in the U.K. To make this drink take 1-1/2 ounce of Japanese single malt whisky, 3/4 of an ounce of sake, 3/4 of an ounce of coconut water, 1/4 of an ounce of sugar syrup, and a dash of Angostura orange bitters. Stir all of the above in an ice-filled glass and strain into a chilled Coupe glass.
3. Tea of Wisdom
This sake cocktail is surely one to make you sit up and take notice of sake’s great versatility when it comes to mixing delicious drinks. Fair warning, Tea of Wisdom isn’t one of those cocktails you can whip up in 3 minutes. Nope, this one requires the drink to blend overnight. Supplies for this wonderful drink include: 1 bottle of Well of Wisdom sake, 1 sachet berry flavored tea and a good handful o frozen pineapple chunks. To make it, empty the bottle of Well of Wisdom sake and berry tea into a mason jar. Let sit overnight. When ready, pour your sake/tea mix over the frozen pineapple and serve.
2. Geisha Martini
Professional mixologist Simon Difford created this unique beverage in 2016 while at the Cabinet Room in the U.K. This vodka martini is rich in alcohol and dry/sour to taste. If you would like it dryer then leave out the sugar syrup. To make this cocktail, add all the following ingredients into an ice-filled glass and strain into a chilled Coupe glass. Ingredients include 1-1/2 of an ounce of vodka, 1-1/2 of an ounce of sake, 1/4 of an ounce of Noilly Prat Extra Dry, 1/`12 of an ounce of Japanese blended whiskey, 1/12 of an ounce of sugar syrup, and garnish with a thin slice of cucumber.
As the name suggests, Saketini is a variation of the martini using either gin or vodka, with sake replacing vermouth. Those not familiar with sake will be astounded with the amazing variations of this drink. This means that you can enjoy coming up with your own versions o the Saketini. To make the basic Saketini you’ll need 2-1/2 ounces of vodka or gin, 1/2 ounce of good quality sake and an olive for garnish. To make it, grab an ice-filled mixing glass and add your vodka or gin, and sake. Next, stir, strain and add an olive for a garnish.
We hope your mixologist vibes are flowing after being introduced to sake as a base for cocktails. Once used traditionally in important ceremonies, sake is now found in variations of the martini, and other drinks. Knowing this, you are well on the way to crafting your own. Especially as sake infuses very well with fruits and blends well with standard alcohols such as gin and vodka. If you’ve a chance to visit Japan, the home of sake, make sure you stop at the many sake vending machines in the country. Here, all that’s needed is to pop in a coin and receive a taste of one of the many varieties of sake in existence. So there you go, relax, put your feet up and enjoy some homemade sake cocktails.