SakéOne Blog

Introducing Sake into Your Cocktails

Sep 15th, 2022 by Gwyn Bjordammen

Sake is traditionally enjoyed as is. But recently, it is playing a key role in the cocktail scene. For bartenders and sake enthusiasts, sake is a versatile yet approachable ingredient able to play a main or supporting role in cocktails

When drinking sake, you may taste flavors like tropical fruit or pepper and other spices. The flavors are derived from the beverage’s water source, rice polishing, and fermentation process. The variety of flavors within the category is vast and sake can bring out an umami quality, fruitiness, or creaminess that adds to the flavor profile of a cocktail. The unique flavor profile is just one reason why it is becoming part of the mixologist’s toolkit. 

Reasons for Sake Cocktails 

Now that you have a little background, let’s break down the reasons to love sake in cocktails.

Sake’s alcohol by volume (ABV) hovers at about 15% or 16%, while distilled spirits have an ABV of around 40%. When mixing sake into a cocktail instead of a distilled beverage, the cocktail will have a lower ABV.  Many love low ABV cocktails because the effect is more mellow than spirit-forward drinks. Sake cocktails also interest those who don’t love the boozy flavor of some stronger drinks.

While sake can take a lead role in a cocktail, it also can round out the existing flavor when added to a spirit-forward cocktail. Unlike distilled spirits, sake can have notes of cherry, melon, or other fruits that come from the water source and the rice polishing process. These sweet or umami flavor profiles are key to the beverage’s performance in cocktails

Tips for making Sake Cocktails

Looking to make your own sake cocktail? Consider using sake in place of a spirit with similar weight, such as gin, vodka and tequila. One of our favorite cocktail recipes is the Lemon Pom Saketini. This low ABV cocktail blends together simple syrup, pomegranate juice, and Momokawa Organic Junmai sake for a refreshing drink. In this recipe, the notes of melon and lime in the Junmai Ginjo are not overpowered and the delicate flavors are highlighted. 

Nigori sake is a good choice when creating a sweet and creamy cocktail. In the Hazelnut Nigori Iced Coffee, Murai Family Nigori Genshu is combined with Cold Brew Coffee and Hazelnut Syrup to achieve a bold beverage with notes of vanilla and spice. Creamy Nigori also pairs well with lighter ingredients such as dry vermouth or gin. In the Nigori Negroni recipe, Nigori is mixed with bittersweet vermouth and Aperol for a well-balanced beverage with a subtle umami flavor. 

Sake can easily be overpowered by other flavors in a cocktail. It is best to be mindful of balance so that the beverage can maintain its delicate flavor profile. A tip is to avoid adding to cocktails with a lot of distilled alcohol and competing flavors. Instead, keep it simple to let it shine. Ultimately, sake is a versatile beverage that is enjoyable on its own and works wonders on cocktails by adding complexity and delicate notes to the flavor profile.

Five Sake Cocktails to Try
Bloody Mariko

Mixer for 4 Cocktails

  • 14 oz Tomato Juice
  • 7.5 oz Dashi
  • 1 oz Soy Sauce
  • .5 oz Yuzu Juice

Ingredients for 1 Cocktail


  1. To make mixer, combine tomato juice, dashi, soy sauce and yuzu juice and stir to combine
  2. To make cocktail, add the mixer and Junmai Daiginjo to a highball glass and stir to combine
  3. Fill the glass with ice and garnish with a piece of fuki to stir in
Dragon’s Milk


  • 2 oz Momokawa Pearl Saké
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 1 oz coconut syrup
  • 1 oz simple syrup
  • .25 oz half & half


  1. Pour ingredients over ice into shaker
  2. Shake vigorously
  3. Serve up with tropical flower garnish
Sake Raspberry Lemonade


  • 4 oz pink lemonade
  • ½ tsp simple syrup
  • 3 oz g fifty
  • Half a lemon
  • 3 raspberries


  1. In a shaker, muddle 3 raspberries
  2. Add a squeeze of lemon, pink lemonade, simple syrup, and g fifty to shaker with ice and shake
  3. Strain into glass over ice
  4. Garnish with lemon slice


  • 1 oz tequila
  • 1/2 oz Cointreau
  • 1.5 oz g joy sake
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 1/2 tbsp coarse salt, for glass rims


  1. Add salt to a plate
  2. Run lime around the rim of a rocks glass
  3. Dip glass in the salt
  4. Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice and shake well
  5. Strain cocktail into rocks glass over ice
Asian Pear Sangria



  1. In a pitcher, gently muddle strawberries, lemon, basil
  2. Add sake and stir
  3. Cover and chill for 1-3 hours
  4. Pour over ice
  5. Top with Club Soda
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