In Hong Kong, we have an obsession with Japanese food, which by default means we are obsessed with drinking Saké.
Saké exports from Japan grew for a record consecutive 13th year in Saké 2022, up to almost $50billon yen (US$380m). Hong Kong sits third in terms of most exported to countries, but we are top of the table in terms of purchase per capita, spending more than double of our next closest rival, South Korea.
1. China: 14.2 billion yen
2. U.S.A. 11.0 billion yen
3. Hong Kong 7.2 billion yen
4. Korea 2.5 billion yen
5. Singapore 2.3 billion yen
So we know a thing or two about Saké and we think we have a pretty good idea about what’s good stuff. So here is our round up of the best Saké you can drink right now, covering a range of different styles and price points. Kanpai!
Kurosawa Junmai Kimoto
Prefecture: Nagano | ABV: 15% | Tasting notes: Mushroom, Nuts, Milk
Produced using the Kimoto method, which is the oldest and most “natural” method of producing Saké – this style accounts for only 2% of all
Saké produced in Japan.
As you might expect, with fewer industrial processes involved, the liquid has a more earthy flavor, making it more flexible in terms of food pairing and serving temperature. In short, you can put this with any food, at any temp and it will always taste great.
You can find them here at around HK$210
Hakkaisan Tokubetsu Junmai
Prefecture: Niigita| ABV: 15.5% | Tasting notes: Vanilla, Herbs, Rice Pudding
Known for its ski resorts, national parks and onsen – it’s not surprising that this Niigita produced Saké is light, crispy and fresh. We love the rice pudding flavour that comes through, possibly one that has been laced with vanilla pods.
You can serve this one chilled or room temperature, but we highly recommend pairing it with something creamy and fresh, for example fish in a white sauce. But don’t underestimate the floral and herby notes, which make it great for serving with almost any kind of fragrant food.
You can find them here at around HK$230
Tsukino Katsura 'Nakagumi' Junmai Nigori
Prefecture: Kyoto | ABV: 17% | Tasting notes: Pear, Rice and Toasty Yeast
Perhaps if we say that this is the perfect saké for hot pot, we’ll have you convinced from the start. Who doesn’t love hot pot + saké? This Nigori style saké is pure white, refreshing and lightly sparkling.
After the saké is bottled at the source, there is a second round of fermentation that takes place in the bottle. This produces super fine bubbles that explode (gently) in your mouth, giving a smooth, creamy – and refreshing – drinking experience.
You can get them here at HK$260
Azure Ginjo Sake
Region: Kochi | ABV: 15% | Tasting notes: citrus, pear and green apple sorbet
Produced on the island of Shikoku, you can’t help but look at this bottle and not think of water and the sea. This is done on purpose to emphasise its use of deep-sea water (desalinated), which produces a liquid that pairs superbly with seafood of every variety. This bottle calls for serious chilling, we recommend getting it down to 6degC at least. Then you can let loose the traditional ginjo aromas and wonderfully refreshing mineral flavours that have been captured within the bottle.
Masumi Yumedono Daiginjo "Mansion of Dreams"
Prefecture: Nagano | ABV: 15% | Tasting notes: white peaches, bananas & citrus
This award winning saké is the Masumi brewer’s masterpiece. Made with top-grade Yamada Nishiki rice and Masumi Number Seven Yeast, it is then drip-filtered one drop at a time. In this way, what is considered the peak of brewing is achieved – a finish that disappears effortlessly.
Since the flavour profile of this sake is umami heavy, we recommend pairing it with any food item that also has that umami je ne sais quoi. The makers recommend to try steamed shrimp gyoza, salt-crusted snapper or scallop carpaccio – with the precious liquid served ice cold.
Ohmine 2 Grain Junmai Daiginjo Sake
Region: Shikoku | ABV: 14% | Tasting notes: white peach, grapes and grapefruit
To be a Daiginjo, the rice must be polished to at least 50%, but Ohmine Shuzou brewery have gone a step further, polishing to a luxurious 35%. With a slightly lower ABV than most other sakés, this is a beautiful tipple, slipping down incredibly smoothly – we highly recommended it as a sipping sake.
Delivered in gorgeous packaging (by the Stockholm Design Lab), both the bottle and outer box are sure to catch the eye and impress your friends, loved ones or business associates. Serve chilled to bring out the best of the sweet and sour, umami grapefruit deliciousness.