August 29, 2023

Sake 101: Everything You Need To Know

The world of sake is wide and captivating. It is Japan’s national drink and has different tasting notes, profiles, types, and processes of brewing. Sake is not widely popular or known in the Philippines. That’s why many Filipinos are not familiar with it and don’t know how to enjoy it. But considering its increasing popularity and availability worldwide, sake is definitely worth knowing and understanding. Here’s everything you must know about sake.

What Is Sake?

Sake is a popular Japanese alcoholic beverage. In Japanese, sake is called nihonshu (日本酒) and is created from fermented rice. This is to help differentiate this type of alcoholic drink from other alcohols because “sake” is a term used to describe alcohol in general.

There are four main ingredients in making sake: clean water, quality rice, yeast, and koji (a mold). You can’t use any type of rice to make sake. To make delicious sake, a special type of rice called sakamai is used. All four ingredients are combined, fermented, and processed.

Each brewer has their own way of carefully distributing koji over the rice. Also, the type of yeast, water quality, and brewing process are unique to every sake brewery. As a result, the tasting notes, profiles, and flavors of sake are different for every brewery.

Different Types Of Sake
Sake, often referred to as Japanese rice wine, is a unique alcoholic beverage that showcases the richness and intricacies of Japanese culture. Its types vary widely based on factors such as brewing process, ingredients, and aging. 

Rice Polish Ratio
To make sake, rice grains are polished to remove their outer layers which makes the end product less palatable and desirable. In general, the more polished the rice grains are the better the flavors and the higher their price tags will be. Premium sake should have at least 30% RPR while high-end ones have higher.

Ginjo (吟醸): At least 40% RPR with a slightly fruity taste and very rich profile.
Daiginjo (大吟醸): At least 50% RPR with a light and fruity flavor and very rich character.

Addition Of Brewer’s Alcohol
The alcohol content in sake is produced by the fermentation process which is costly and time-consuming. That’s why many brewers add bigger amounts of alcohol to decrease the fermentation process and produce sake faster. But for premium sake, they pride themselves in containing no added alcohol or adding smaller amounts, just to add subtle flavors and taste notes.

Junmai (純米): Contains zero added alcohol and has different flavors.
Honjozo (本醸造): 70% RPR with a small amount of alcohol to improve the flavor or add an earthy taste.

Special Types Of Sake
There are special types of sake produced which are created by adding or omitting various steps in processing. Here are the most common ones:

Nigorizake: Also called cloudy sake, it has a cloudy color and sweet to tart flavors.
Sparkling Sake: To create the bubbles, sake is bottled before the fermentation process.
Namazake: Also called raw sake, it has a fresher flavor. However, namazake should be refrigerated and consumed quickly.
Amazake: Sweet, thick, and low or non-alcoholic beverage.
Koshu: Also called old sake, it’s aged in barrels or bottles to add unique flavors and profiles. Depending on how long the aging process is, it can have stronger, woody, or earthy flavors with a dark, honeyed color.
Jizake: Typically produced by small, independent brewers.

While sake might be the pride of Japan, you don't have to travel miles to get your hands on premium alcoholic beverages. If you're in the mood for a different kind of brew or want to explore other international flavors, you can always buy beer online in the Philippines at Thirst: Philippine's First Online Liquor Marketplace. From the crispness of a local lager to the smoothness of imported ale, Thirst offers a wide selection to quench your global palate.

How To Enjoy Sake
Unlike common alcoholic drinks in the Philippines which are served cold or with ice, sake can be enjoyed warm, hot, chilled, or at room temperature. Personal preference, weather conditions, and the season will affect how sake is enjoyed.

In general, premium sake is best enjoyed at room temperature or chilled. An example of this is the expensive daiginjo and ginjo. While less flavorful and cheaper ones can be served warm and hot. Warm and hot sake is perfect for cold weather and winter.

When drinking sake in groups, it’s customary to serve each other and not just yourself. This is very different from the Filipino culture where you serve alcohol to yourself unless your friends are skipping their turn and trying to look like they’re drinking. Also, when drinking sake, you don’t chug the whole cup. You take a sip and enjoy the experience, taste, and profile of the sake.

Best Food Pairing For Sake

Personal preferences will affect the best food pairing for sake. But in general, light and sweet sake is perfect with shrimp, fish, and other lightly fried food. Light and dry sake go well with sushi, sashimi, and light dishes. But if you’re serving hearty meat dishes, pair them with rich and dry sake. And for rich and sweet sake, pair them with protein-rich or umami ingredients such as cheese or soy-based dishes.


Basically, light sake goes well with lightly-flavored dishes. On the other hand, hearty and savory foods and dishes pair well with rich and bold sake.

If you still haven’t tried drinking sake, it’s now time to expand your palate and try something new. Sake is delicious, flavorful, and has a unique taste. It pairs well with different Filipino food, not just Japanese food. The key to a desirable sake-drinking experience is finding the right sake that fits your taste buds.


  1. Thanks for sharing this info with us.

  2. Although I no longer drink alcohol, when I was younger I used to go out on dates in Manhattan, visit restaurants and did enjoy sake! I do not know what kind of sake it was, but it was very strong with a powerful flavour, definitely had a high alcohol content, and I liked it.
    The range of beverages available in the Philippines sounds intriguing.
    Your knowledge of sake and the information you provided above are excellent!
    Despite my now being a non-drinking (no alcohol) vegetarian it sounds like I could get very enjoyable meals with non-alcoholic saki there in the Philippines!

  3. Hello my dear!
    Great entry! I've never drank sake. I'm glad I could learn a lot about her, thanks to you :)
    Greetings from Poland!

  4. A girlfriend in college introduced me to sake and thank you for sharing, I learned a lot. It's interesting too to see the differences between Japanese and Filipino culture in enjoying sake.

  5. We get it from time to time at Spirit world. Although, I am not sure if its the best sake, but it is a very interesting drink! Thanks for the beautiful post!

  6. So great to read your post! It has been a while since I've had any. Now I want some!

  7. I love drinking sake. Really enjoyed reading about its origin. Cheers!

  8. I haven't drank sake yet, but definitely I would like to try it. Thank you for sharing.

  9. That sounds good.
    Thanks for sharing.

  10. Oh this was very interesting to read. I have only had sake a few times in my life. I will have try it more often.

    Allie of

  11. This was so interesting! It's been a while since I've enjoyed a glass of sake.

  12. Thanks a lot =) I like this Disney shirt too, super cute. Oh yes I love my new earrings and I wore them yesterday for the Tina Turner musical =)

    A really interesting and informative post. I don't drink sake that often but it's crazy that there are so many informations about it :D I thought sake is sake but now I know it better.

  13. Thanks for visiting and commenting.
    Have a nice weekend.

  14. Thank you for sharing this informative post about sake! As someone who is not familiar with sake, it's interesting to learn about its origins and the unique brewing process. I had no idea that there are different types of sake based on factors like ingredients and aging. It's great to see that sake is gaining popularity worldwide, and I'm excited to explore this fascinating drink further. Looking forward to more posts about sake!

  15. I'm aware of sake, but I've never tried it. (I don't drink alcohol, so I don't think I'll ever try it.)

  16. I did not know about Sake. Thank you for sharing.

  17. Did not know much about sake, very interesting post. I would like to try the sparkling one the most.
    Greetings :)

  18. Hey there!
    Thank you so much for teaching us so many things about sake 🥰
    I've tasted one time and I really like it, even though it was a little bit strong for me🙈
    Have a wonderful week, sweetheart!💋✨

  19. Hi!
    I appreciate the information and advice you have provided about Sake. I've never tasted this Japanese delight before, thanks for the note.

  20. Post molto interessante, non ho mai assaggiato il Sakè, siccome sono un curiosone lo voglio assaggiare. Una serena e felice giornata a te.

  21. So informative post about sake.
    Thanks for sharing.

  22. Very interesting post. I've never tried sake.


  23. Oh very informative post about Sake
    Great post

  24. I know sake because I used to watch Japanese dramas ;-)

  25. That's great!!! I really liked it!))

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