Getting into sake isn’t as hard as you might think, and thanks to increased availability outside of Japan, along with efforts by Japanese breweries to include English on labels, it’s becoming easier to pick out good bottles. Once you try a few varieties, you’ll start to realize which characteristics you like in sake – whether that’s fruity and floral, rich and nutty, filtered or unfiltered – and you’ll be able to know what you’re looking for. But if you’re new to the world of sake and don’t know where to start, we’ve got some great recommendations for you. Here are three tasty, easy-drinking, and affordable sake that are perfect for novices and aficionados alike.
Sunday’s Junmai (Hyogo, Honshu)
Made in collaboration with Hyogo’s Rairaku brewery by the team behind Yardbird, RŌNIN, and Sunday’s Grocery, Sunday’s Junmai was made to help introduce people outside of Japan to the world of sake. Produced using local Gohyakumangoku rice, the Sunday’s Junmai is dry with soft congee aromatics, prominent minerality, and a refreshing, dry finish.
Ohmine ‘One Cup’ Junmai (Yamaguchi, Honshu)
Ohmine is named for the brewery’s location in Mine City, which was closed for 50 years before Takeshi Akiyama helped to revive it in an effort to produce a Junmai and Junmai Daiginjo that feature modern flavor profiles and forward-thinking design. Their ‘one cup’ is a single serving of a soft, round, and mineral driven sake. With its wine-like mouthfeel and personal serving size, the Ohmine ‘One-Cup’ Junmai is perfect for sake novices.
From the far Southwest corner of Japan, Nanakamba Ginjo is clean, soft and mineral driven. This is because much of the fat and protein from the rice grains are polished away, leaving the pure and starchy center. This sake has restrained and delicate aromatics with a pure, refreshing mouthfeel, and a dry finish. Its easy to drink nature and versatility with food pairings make it ideal for sake beginners.