Sake essentials: Find your favorite

June 2024 – Drinking culture runs deep in Japan, and sake is undoubtedly the country’s most iconic brew. Made from rice, sake is classified by ingredients, production methods, and the degree of grain polishing. (The outer layer of rice isn’t great for brewing, so it’s polished away.) Here’s the breakdown:


  • Junmai – The only ingredients in junmai sake are rice and koji, and no other additives are allowed. Higher polishing means more rice and time, often leading to a higher price.

Remember a high rank or the term “junmai” doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll prefer it to other types of sake. In fact, skilled brewers may combine junmai with other varieties for depth of flavor. Other sakes to explore include:

  • Ginjo – sake made with up to 60% unpolished rice grain.
  • Daiginjo – sake made with rice polished up to 50%.
  • Honjozo – brewer’s alcohol is added.
  • Nigori – unfiltered or ‘cloudy’ sake.
  • Genshu – undiluted sake, usually about 20-22% vs a more standard 15-16% ABV.
  • Nama – unpasteurized sake.

Choosing your sake: In addition to our traditional bottle selection, we are excited to carry ready-to-drink options including Yoki Shuzo’s Yeti cup (180ml), and Tozai’s craft cans Nightswim and Snow Maiden.  Keep an eye out for sparkling sake, which has a milder taste and is a terrific intro (see Ysidro’s Grapefruit & Sea Salt Sake Spritz). And take a look at the back of each sake label for a handy guide showing you Aroma (Low, Moderate, or High); Dryness (Sweet, Medium Dry, or Dry); and Serving Temp (Chilled; Room Temp, Luke Warm, or Warm).


Serving Tip: Sake can be served chilled, warmed, or at room temp. Ginjo is usually enjoyed cool, while junmai shines at room temp or warmed. Each sake has its ideal serving temperature, but personal preference rules.


Have fun exploring our sake selection, and Kanpai! 

Black Label | Junmai Daiginjo | $22.99
Sparkling Sake | Junmai Daiginjo | $22.99
Dry | Junmai Daiginjo | $22.99

Odayaka | Junmai Ginjo | $41.99

Kumo | Nigori Junmai | $21.99
‘White Dragon’ | Junmai Ume-shu (Plum) | $21.99

Yukiotoko “Yeti” | Honjozo | $24.99
Yukiotoko “Yeti” cup | Honjozo | $11.99

Blanc | Nama | $29.99
Original | Nama | $29.99

Shirakawago | Sasa Nigori (Lightly Cloudy) | $15.99

Aokishuzo’s Yukiotoko “Yeti” cup | Honjozo | $11.99
Tozai’s Nightswim | Craft sake | $5.99
Tozai’s Snow Maiden | Junmai Nigori | $5.99


Ysidro’s Grapefruit & Sea Salt Sake Spritz | Junmai Ginjo | $5.79