Saké is having a moment. After thriving in Japan for thousands of years, saké has made its way to the rest of the world.

It’s a popular staple in numerous restaurants, and pairs seamlessly with many types of Asian cuisine. When it comes to taste, there’s an old Japanese concept of the five flavors that create a perfect balance: Sweet, dry, bitter, acidic, and astringent.

There are four variations of saké:

  • Junmai-shu: Saké brewed with just rice
  • Honjozo-shu: Saké brewed with a small amount of alcohol
  • Ginjo-shu: Saké brewed with highly milled rice and alcohol
  • Daiginjo-shu: Saké brewed with highly milled rice and the largest amount of alcohol.

Whether you’re new to saké tasting or well versed, I recommend trying variations to expand your pallet. I love drinking it when I’m in Japan, but if you’re in the Los Angeles area, try the saké from Takao Sushi in Brentwood.

Sip the Dewazakura “Omachi,” a Ginjo sake with delightful fruity notes. The Omachi is brisk and clean with a lively bounce. Pair with the spicy tuna tacos, the sashimi, or the crispy rice with toro (tuna belly) and caviar. It’s decadent and filling.

If New York is your home base, head to famed Japanese eatery Morimoto. There is an extensive list of spirits and saké, and I highly recommend the 1972 aged saké. It’s filled with spiced pumpkin and citrus oil aromas with a lingering fruit finish.

Pair it with the slow cooked king salmon or the beef sukiyaki. If you’re craving a lighter option, devour the seared tuna and mizuna salad.

From New York to LA and all throughout the world, saké is appearing on everyone’s must-try list. Enjoy!