Food Trend: Forget Rose, 2018 is the Summer of Sake

Some may still sip rosé all day, but sake could take over as the hot drink for hot weather. The Japanese rice wine typically served with sushi is appearing in more restaurants and breweries and being paired with everything from charcuterie to cheese to barbecue.

“Sake is big in Japan, but it is just at the cusp of catching on in the west.”

Sake has been around for centuries in Japan, but consumption has dropped in recent years. Meanwhile, it's ticking upward in North America, benefiting from the overall popularity of Japanese foods — from ramen and soba to sushi and yakitori — as well as riding the trend of consumers seeking far-flung flavors and artisanal products.

Sake can be enjoyed on its own, but bartenders are creating fun cocktails with it, too. At Sunday in Brooklyn, they’ve given the old college-favorite sake bomb a modern makeover with their new cocktail called the Tokyo Bodega. It’s made with sake and St.Germain liqueur and vanilla bean-infused simple syrup, which is served in a beaker and you add a little of that sake mix to a Miller High Life beer.

And Stillwater Artisanal, a Brooklyn-based beer company, has developed a beer-sake hybrid called Extra Dry. It’s a saison-style pale ale made with rice and served cold in a can. “It’s made to emulate beer, but it tastes more like a dry wine,” says Stillwater Artisanal founder and brewer Brian Strumke.


What makes good sake?

Top-notch sake — best served chilled — has a clean flavor profile that can be full-bodied and robust or light and fruity, sometimes with a subtle hint of licorice.

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