Sake is a far more versatile beverage than most people realize. Pure and expressive no matter its application, artisan sake can be served chilled, gently warmed, and with a variety of cuisines. From Japanese to Indian, Mexican to Italian, to a big juicy hamburger – there are no rules and no boundaries to enjoying sake and sake drinks.

Not sure where to start with sake? Look no further: Sake Myths, Debunked

Craft cocktails open up the world of sake drinks even further. With a couple of extra minutes, fresh ingredients, and bar cart standbys, you can enjoy a cocktail worthy of an upstanding establishment any day of the week.

The following cocktail recipes were created, refined, and tested by Kyle Linden Webster of Expatriate, the cocktail bar he and his wife opened in Portland, Oregon. Each cocktail utilizes artisanal sake alongside other typical craft cocktail ingredients.

4 Simple Sake Drinks

With sake drinks of this caliber, the applications are limitless. Explore these recipes on their own, with a variety of cuisines, for guests, or for yourself, and discover more of sake’s amazing versatility.

Joto Gimlet

  • 3 oz Joto Daiginjo
  • ½ oz Fresh lime juice
  • ½ oz Cane sugar syrup 1:1
  • ½ tsp Yuzu Kosho*

Shake & strain/Serve Up/Lime

Taste: Simply amazing. Salt and pepper. Spicy, salty, tangy, bright, umami-rich.

* Yuzu Kosho is a traditional Japanese condiment combining yuzu citrus with green chili peppers. It can be found at most Asian markets.

Sake drinks - Divine Lotus
Divine Lotus sake cocktail

Divine Lotus

  • 3 oz Joto Junmai
  • 6T Pureed Persimmon*
  • ¼ oz Honey syrup 2:1
  • ½ oz Fresh lemon juice

Shake/Rocks/Do not double strain

Taste: Junmai sings. Soft, subtle, round, balanced, fruity

*Any soft, ripe, seasonal fruit can be used: strawberry, kiwi, raspberry, mango, etc.


Taste: Vibrant, expressive, sweet, tart. Contrast and balance. Great aperitif style.

*any drinking vinegar will work

Joto sake cocktail bittersweet beginning
Bittersweet Beginning sake cocktail

Bittersweet Beginning

  • 3 oz Hou Hou Shu Sparkling Sake
  • 1 oz Plymouth Gin
  • ½ oz Dolin Dry Vermouth
  • ¼ oz Campari
  • 1 Dash Regan’s No. 6 Orange Bitters
  • Flute/Lemon Twist

Taste: Bitter orange rind, herbal, sweet and dry, bright and balanced

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