Japan’s beloved spirit has an umami character that makes for a terrific addition to boozy concoctions. We’ve rounded up a list of delicious and refreshing sake cocktail recipes that are perfect for sunny days. By Eshita Srinivas
A staple across restaurants and establishments in Japan, sake is a rice-based alcoholic beverage that has been around in the region for over 1,000 years. An integral part of Japanese culture and cuisine, it features in almost everything from religious ceremonies to drinking games. In part, this versatility can be attributed to its nutty, sweet flavour that complements a variety of occasions and pairs well with most culinary dishes. Naturally, bartenders began experimenting with the spirit, creating their libations or adding it to classic blends to come up with something a bit more unique. With summer fast approaching, we’ve curated a few sake cocktail recipes that will help you beat the heat and add to your repertoire of boozy beverages.
Whip up these delicious sake cocktail recipes this summer
A sake bomb is a classic recipe that’s believed to have been invented by American soldiers who were posted in Japan during World War II. Just in time for summer parties, this one’s an experience. All you need is a shot of sake and a pint of light beer. Fill a glass three-quarters of the way with beer and rest chopsticks on top of it. Gently place a shot of sake on top until it floats. When you’re ready, beat the table with your fists until the shot falls into the beer and chug your drink down.
Nothing spells summer like a fruity sangria! And when you switch out the wine with some sake, you get a slightly more light and refreshing blend. Combine strawberries, lemon, grapefruit, orange, peaches, in a large dispenser. Add the sake and honey to the mix and let that rest for a day before serving over some ice. This one’s perfect for picnics and outdoor gatherings with large groups and you could always experiment with fruits that are in season or best suit your palate.
Sake Pina Colada
Reminiscent of a leisurely tropical vacation, a pina colada’s creamy, fruity flavour is elevated by the addition of sake. The spirit replaces vodka in the mix and has enough character to make for a smooth, sweet concoction. All you need to do is full-fat coconut milk, pineapple juice, simple syrup, lime juice, and sake. Combine the ingredients with ice, strain, and serve in a Collins glass over crushed ice. To add that additional touch of summer to the mix, garnish with an orange wheel. Be sure to shake the sake before you add it in for this one.
Matcha Man Sour
The classic summer drink, whiskey sour, gets a Japanese makeover with two quintessentially Japanese ingredients – matcha and sake – making it one of the most delectable sake cocktail recipes you should try. All you need are egg whites, sake, lemon juice, matcha syrup, peach liqueur and grated lemon zest to whip this one up. The results are a fruity, vibrant green beverage that is sure to be a knockout amongst your friends. If you’re feeling fancy, sprinkle matcha powder on top.
Sake Lavender Lemon Drop
An aromatic version of the lemon drop, which was created in a swanky singles bar in the 1970s, this recipe uses sake to make the drink sweeter. You’d need vanilla vodka, sake, lavender syrup, lemon juice, lemon zest, and sugar. Combine all your liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice, strain and serve in a glass with a sugar rim. If you use a cloudy sake, the flavour’s a bit more creamy and sweet but regardless of the brand of sake you use, this drink’s flavour is smooth, so be sure to pace yourself.
Fresh Tomato Mist
A unique spin on the popular, simple brunch drink red eye, this recipe has all the makings of a family-favourite beverage. All you need is sake, fresh tomato, sugar syrup, and mint leaves. Despite the beer from the classic recipe being switched out by sake, the flavours are refreshing and light and none of the ingredients fight for attention. This is also one of the easiest things you can whip up, considering the ingredients are staples in most kitchens.
Light, astringent, mildly sweet sake meets bitter and earthy matcha in this fun, vibrant drink that takes on the flavours of an American classic cocktail from the 1940s. You’d need sugar syrup, lime, ginger beer, matcha, and sake on hand to whip this one up. Serve in the quintessential copper glass or a clear martini glass. Add a summery spin to the mix by garnishing with a lime wedge.