How to Drink Sake Like a Pro

If you’ve ever had to order sake and had no idea what you were ordering, we’ll tell you the basics you need to know. What’s the difference between sweet and dry sake, how’s it made, and what should you look out for when you’re buying sake. We’ll taste a few sakes as well and compare the differences.

Here’s a full playlist on our Aizu Wakamatsu adventures!

We’ve got some more info on sake in our blog:

We also shot with our friend John, Only in Japan!

Here’s the brewery we went to:

Check out Aizu Wakamatsu yourself!

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Campbell Lin says:

I literally paused in the middle of the video and drove 20 min to a whole food at 9.30pm to get try my first sake in my life. Good learning and will try to taste more in the future.

Alex Zamora says:

I’m drinking sake tonight with my friends and I’ve never had it before, am I gonna get drunk as fuck tonight?

Van Sama says:

I just drink it straight from the bottle

Panzer Kampf Märchen says:


Harjaz says:

Do an episode on Japanese whisky!!!

DJAnthologic says:

Hahaha “Daiginjo me the way…”  LMAO, died!

Theia Honrade says:

When i return. To Japan. I will drink. Sake

らっきーマリン says:


気に入ってくれたみたいで嬉しく思います。Thank You!

amznmmdprncss says:

That sake is as old as me!

Stefany Alejandra Alvarado Rodriguez says:

En español hagan los subtítulo por favor

kimberley evans says:

Atsukan Sake for me along day long!!!

Laura Mihaela says:

I miss Eat Your Sushi episodes 🙁

Cindy A says:

You skipped the 2 small bottles. What’s up with that.

reviews and impressions says:

Awww its so sweet when simon carries martina HAHAHA

Akasha Donaldson-Boyd says:

I’ll have to look around my city for an establishment that sells genuine sake. The only stuff I’ve been able to find was at sushi restaurants and it is as strong as rubbing alcohol and is only served hot. Vancouver Canada here ❤️

astroboy3507 says:

Nice vid guys as a sake lover!!!!

Anthony C. says:

Did anyone else hear him say Jesus at 11:40? Did he really say Jesus?

Aria says that kpop is my religion says:

“Ask an adult”

* looks around *


Junk O'bash says:

I recommend Niigata sake for foreigners. Like hakkaisan, kubota, shimeharizuru, kirinzan and so on. They are less creamy and dry. Hakkaisan even has a subtle sweetish taste. Some of sake from west japan tends to have more creamy stronger smell which most people who try sake for the first time does not like.

sora maru says:


Hon3yBunny says:

I’m 22 years old and have never gotten drunk or sick from drinking but watching this and thinking about the alcohol makes my stomach do flips

Ra Za says:

Now I can’t wait to try out some sake!!!

Dan Le says:

less talky more sake!!!! chugs

Ha-ha-ha-hapa says:

12:26 “hey thish ish the good schtuff right here” ok, maybe not that much but nothing’s better than a buzz on good product. As a clueless gaijin of legal drinking age I appreciate this!! I definitely gotta get myself to the local alcohol shop for some creamy clean daiginjo. Did you guys take the train out? ALSO I love the sumo earrings, Martina!!

Ian Lumiere says:

This was so interesting! Great video from my favorite YouTubers!

Satopi3104 says:

As a huge junmai lover and someone who is not a fan of ginjo or daiginjo, i do feel this video was a bit biased towards ginjo/daiginjo and against junmai. Sure, the brewery will want to push their ginjo/daiginjo since those are the most expensive, but actually, many sake lovers are turning away from ginjo/daiginjo and towards junmai because junmai has much more character and SO much more umami. I get ginjo and daiginjo as being a good intro because they are light, clean and aromatic but most people tend to move past that and into the more varied, interesting world of junmai unless they are people who are more into things for how exclusive, rare or expensive they are rather than whether they actually like it personally (and whooo boy do many Japanese (especially middle aged men) fit into this unfortunate category).

Also, to be clear, dry and sweet are NOT about flavor – it’s about mouthfeel (and on that vein, never down sake like a shot like Simon and Martina did for the less expensive sake – mouthfeel is half (some say most) of the flavor of sake and if you just chuck it at the back of your throat without savoring it across your tongue, you are missing most of the flavor. To shoot back a junmai is especially not good since it is less aromatic and more about umami and mouthfeel than ginjo/daiginjo so it literally must have not tasted like much they way they drank it lol). Anyway, so dry sake is higher alcohol content sake that is stimulating on the tongue and also sometimes has the alcohol vapor that burns your sinuses a bit (though definitely nothing like vodka or soju). Also note that in wine speak, dry denotes levels of tannin (that sensation of it drying out your mouth) but sake does not have tannin so dry does not mean the same thing in sake speak that it means in wine speak. Sweet denotes lower alcohol content and it is very smooth and not at all abrasive on the tongue. It does not mean fruity or aromatic either – for instance, the daiginjo that S+M had was in fact dry, as they note.

Also three final notes they didn’t really talk about:

1) temperature. Sake can be served chilled, room temperature, slightly warm or scalding hot. Back in the old days, scalding hot was seen as the best and most traditional way but that is because of the way sake used to be made and transported. The brewery guy hints at this, but sake in the old days used to be loaded with much higher added alcohol – this was to help increase the percentage of alcohol to help it not rot during what used to be much less efficient transportation (think bombed out Japan post WWII). This is why a lot of people don’t like non-junmai sake because there were not (and still are not) restrictions on how much extra alcohol can be added, and the breweries don’t have a legal obligation to disclose how much extra alcohol they add, so it was hard for consumers to know what they were getting before actually tasting it. This is why a lot of people still prefer junmai, although in this day and age, those practices are long gone and most brewers are honest about and very careful with how much alcohol they add (like the expert says). So aaaannnyway because of all this added alcohol that threw off the taste and scent of sake, people took to heating it up to essentially make some of that extra higher proof alcohol burn off. If you do this to a delicate, floral daiginjo, you are literally killing everything good about the sake. So like the expert says, drink your sake cold until you really know your shit and know what sake can benefit from heating.

2) serving cup. Different sake should be served in different cups. small ones (the same size as the sample cups they were using) are good for fresh, young sake that should be enjoyed chilled (if you pour that sake into a big glass it will warm up to room temperature before you finish it and will not taste as good). Cups with a wider rim than base are good for daiginjo that are all about breathing in that amazing floral scent. Junmai are good in larger, more rustic cups since they are best at room temperature and are about mouthfeel and flavor more than scent. Aged sake can probably go with a daiginjo glass that is on the larger side since they do smell great but also taste really good but honestly aged sake is SUPER rare – sake is generally consumed fresh every season.

3) food pairings. This is IMO THE most important point. Have local sake with local food. Local food tastes REALLY different from region to region in Japan. For instance, the Kansai region has light, delicate, salt and kombu based flavors and the Kanto region has strong, sweet and salty flavors based on soy sauce and bonito broth. If you pair a delicate junmai from Kyoto that is all about the subtle umami and gentle mouthfeel with some sweet and salty dish from Niigata, you will not get ANYTHING out of the sake and it will taste flat and like water because your taste buds will just be overwhelmed with the flavor of the food. And vice versa – a beautifully balanced kyo kaiseki meal will be completely overwhelmed by a dry, sharp Niigata sake. The best would be to ask the restaurant what sake would go best with what you are eating. If they are a restaurant serious enough about sake to keep a variety in stock (note that many Japanese restaurants only have one type of sake, like a table wine in western restaurants) then they should be able to help you out.

Anyway, don’t let all that scare you – sake, like anything else, is all about experiencing it first hand. I love alcohol of all stripes but I have a fondness for sake because I think the variety of flavors is just amazing – even sake from the same year and same brewery can be amazingly different between the junmai, ginjo, and daiginjo. If you can get yourself to Japan, going to breweries or sake bars where you can compare how different sakes taste will be the best thing for your sake education!

greylock1959 says:

Thanks for sharing this. Super informative.

Spudgy And Memers says:

I prefer Korean rice wine

Luka Dacic says:

She has the laugh of my drunkard uncle who smokes a pack of Luckies a day. That ending scared me.. Bad childhood memories…

Hye Song says:

I like Martina’s stylish hair bun.

Sejdr says:


Lars Stoerloes says:

Martina, could you do a tutorial about this sort of braid-bun situation you’re wearing in this video. Me and a friend of mine watched this video together, and she would like to wear her hair like that or similarly at her wedding 🙂

Abby McLaren says:

Thank you so much for this video! I loved it. It’s my birthday today, and my partner bought me daiginjo sake. I tasted it and it tastes like heaven! Thank you again!

Allison Hamilton says:

I am so jealous! There is only two varieties of sake in my area!

LtDanYouTube says:

Just bought a bottle of the Samurai Liquor Randy!

750ml Gekkeikan “The Finest Sake” 14.6%

Tap Water says:

Do sake and 맥주 taste the same? Since they’re basically made of the same things.

Reighlah Rakinov says:

i love your videos and i love how your canadian because i get all of your references lol when superkid was mentioned i lost my shit. ahhh childhood memories.

ginjiro511 says:


優花 says:

you should make a video “similarities with korea and japan” i’m very curious because I’ve heard that Japan and Korea are bit similar.

Danièle Jodoin says:

Why some Daiginjo are really expensive and some not?

Abigail Kerfoot says:

Can you do a cat vs cucumber video?

Sxsuke_x_Uchiha says:


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