5 sake standouts

Marcus Pakiser, the sake sommelier of Young’s Columbia Wine Company in Oregon, tells us what to drink now

Hot Sake

Sake is brewed from water, koji (an enzyme), yeast, and polished rice, which means it’s gluten-free and ― best of all ― promises not to give you a hangover

Rob Brodman

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Watari Bune
Junmai Ginjo 55

Why we love it: Made with an heirloom rice, this small-batch sake has yummy hints of honeydew, licorice, and pineapple.

Where to order it: Zilla Sake House ($$; zillasakehouse.com), a funky Portland neighborhood bar that makes sake accessible.

Serve it at home with: Simple dishes like fresh pasta with olive oil or (if you’re feeling indulgent) white truffle oil.

Yuki No Bosha
Akita Komachi

Why we love it: Much of the rice grain is polished away with this sake, giving it an elegant finish and lush texture.

Where to order it: Shibuya ($$$; 702/891-3001) in the Las Vegas MGM Grand is as cool as its namesake Tokyo shopping district.

Serve it at home with: Comfort foods like roast chicken or creamy cheeses like brie or camembert.

Eiko Fuji
Junmai Ginjo

Why we love it: This nama (unpasteurized) sake is made with microfiltered water to create intense, springy flavors and a soft finish.

Where to order it:  Yoshi’s ($$$), an upscale Japanese eatery and jazz club in San Francisco.

Serve it at home with: Fresh seafood (try seared sea scallops over spring greens with lemon vinaigrette).

Murai Family
Nigori Genshu

Why we love it: It’s the best of the sweet, cloudy nigori variety, with a balance of creamy and tropical flavors; great with spicy foods.

Where to order it:  Umi Sake House ($$), a Seattle hot spot with serious sushi.

Serve it at home with: A hot curry dish or bittersweet chocolate dessert.

Taiheikai Tokubetsu Junmai

Why we love it: Its fruity nose, slight nuttiness, and grapefruit finish are as refreshing as a glass of Sauvignon Blanc.

Where to order it: In Los Angeles, Izakaya Sasaya ($$) has witty small plates designed to complement sake.

Serve it at home with: Salty foods like soy-sauce stir-fries or chicken skewers.

Hana Hou Hou Shu
Sparkling Sake

Why we love it: Packed with tiny bubbles and infused with hibiscus and rose hips, it reminds us of a fine rosé Champagne.

Where to order it : Kobe Modern Japanese ($$) in Ashland, Oregon, where the chef makes special dishes for sake.

Serve it at home with: Rich, decadent foods like oysters or (not too sweet) crème brûlée.

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