5 sake standouts

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

Hot Sake
Photo: Rob Brodman

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
Daiginjo

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
Namazake
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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