A dinner party is a great way to bring friends and family together, but it can be difficult to plan when you’re feeling uninspired in the kitchen. This quick guide to sake for dinner party menus will provide some simple food suggestions and sake pairings you can use to get the creative juices flowing.
How to Serve Sake
Sake is incredibly versatile and pairs well with almost any type of cuisine, so the dinner party possibilities are truly endless! One of the most important considerations for serving sake is its temperature, as this simple change has a significant impact on its overall flavor.
The right temperature will vary depending on the type of sake you’re drinking and the dish you’re pairing it with — that said, your ideal serving temperature is ultimately up to your personal preferences, so feel free to take this advice with a grain of salt.
Bold Junmai and medium-bodied Tokubetsu Junmai are best served warm or at room temperature, which brings out their umami-rich taste and smooth texture. You’ll want to serve high-grade sakes like Junmai Ginjo or Daiginjo chilled, as the cooler temperature will preserve the delicate floral flavors. Try experimenting with different temperatures to find your sweet spots for each type.
Sake Pairing Ideas for a 5-Course Meal
Every dinner party needs a full menu. Looking for some inspiration? Here are some suggestions for what to serve with sake for each course.
Hors D’Oeuvres: Deviled Eggs and Tokubetsu Junmai
Creamy deviled eggs are simple to make yet complex enough in flavor to enhance your guests’ appetites and excite them for the rest of the meal! If you’re hosting a summer dinner party, you can easily lighten the dish up by swapping out the mayo for mashed avocado or Greek yogurt.
With its bready, umami-rich taste and lingering spiciness, our Sho Chiku Bai Tokubetsu Junmai is a delicious partner for deviled eggs. Serve it warm for a more savory flavor profile, or chill it to bring out the underlying notes of melon and Asian pear.
Appetizer: Mediterranean Flatbread and Junmai
Flatbread is an excellent appetizer for dinner parties because it’s easy to share and super versatile. We love pairing a Mediterranean-inspired flatbread with feta crumbles, roasted veggies, cherry tomatoes, and Kalamata olives with a simple Junmai sake!
Junmai’s light acidity helps to balance out the salty olives and feta while accenting the bright, sweet flavor of the cherry tomato. With a complex flavor profile that changes according to its serving temperature, our Sho Chiku Bai SHO Junmai Organic is perfect for this course. Serve it warm to bring out its full body and savory notes of buckwheat and mushroom, or serve it at room temperature for a subtler, fruitier flavor.
Salad: Kale Apple Salad and Junmai Daiginjo
You might be surprised to learn that sake and salad are a match made in heaven. Because sake is free of tannins, it goes well with bitter salad greens like arugula and kale. And since it’s less acidic than wine, it complements a wide variety of vinaigrettes and salad dressings.
A kale-based salad with diced apples, pecans, radishes, goat cheese, and Dijon vinaigrette is easy to throw together and just sophisticated enough to wow your guests! The perfect sake for this course is a light, smooth Daiginjo like our Sho Chiku Bai Junmai Daiginjo. Serve it chilled to allow flavors of cantaloupe, banana, Asian pear, honeydew melon and watermelon to emerge.
Entree: Ginger-Glazed Salmon and Junmai Ginjo
Grilled or baked salmon with a gingery glaze is a delicious main course for any season. Try pairing yours with our Sho Chiku Bai Takara Sierra Cold. This chilled Junmai Ginjo is light and smooth, with refreshing hints of fruit that complement the zing of the ginger glaze.
For a spicier, more complex sake, we recommend our Sho Chiku Bai SHO Junmai Ginjo. Its floral aroma and medium body balance out the natural oiliness of the salmon, while its sweet undertones of apple cider, strawberry, and white bread leave a pleasant, lasting taste that will leave your guests wanting another.
Dessert: Chocolate Lava Cake and Nigori
Decadent desserts like chocolate lava cakes pair beautifully with a delicate nigori sake like our Sho Chiku Bai Nigori Silky Mild. With subtle notes of vanilla, ripe banana, and melon, this sake balances out the richness of the cake and leaves a lingering sweetness.
Nigori is a unique kind of sake that undergoes minimal filtering before pasteurization, so the final product still contains some rice solids. This lends the sake a cloudy appearance and sweet, creamy flavor that’s perfect for pairing with all sorts of desserts, from cake to ice cream. It can also stand on its own as an after-dinner beverage or nightcap.
3 Easy Sake Cocktails
Want to impress your guests? Complete your dinner party with sake cocktails! These simple drinks are ready in minutes, making them perfect for home mixologists of any experience level.
1. Reverse Sake Martini
This clever twist on a classic is sure to delight. Stir together 2 ounces of Sho Chiku Bai Classic Junmai with 1 ounce of dry gin, 1 lemon peel, and some ice. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a single bee balm blossom.
Now, while James Bond might have you thinking a shaken martini is the way to go, we recommend stirring yours instead. Shaking can cause tiny chips of ice to break off into the liquid, leading to a watery martini.
2. Sake Mojito
Shake up the standard mojito by swapping the rum for Junmai sake. Gently muddle 5 fresh mint leaves in a Collins glass, then add 2 ounces of Sho Chiku Bai Classic Junmai sake. Pour in 1 ounce each of lime juice and simple syrup, and fill the glass with ice. Finally, top your glass off with a splash of soda water and garnish with a lime wedge and a handful of mint flowers.
3. Sake Tonic
Combine 1 ounce of Sho Chiku Bai REI Junmai Daiginjo with ½ ounce of HANA Lychee Flavored Sake and ½ ounce of lemon juice in a tall glass over ice. Fill the rest of the glass with tonic water, then garnish with a lime twist.
Elevate this cocktail by using elderflower tonic water. Its delicate, sweet flavor beautifully complements the floral notes of the Junmai Daiginjo, creating a uniquely delicious drink.
Looking for something a little different? You can find more unique sake recipes on our website!
Delight Your Guests With Takara Sake
If you’re thinking of hosting a party soon, you’ll want to choose a premium sake to satisfy your guests. At Takara Sake USA, we pride ourselves on brewing high-quality sake to please every palate, from subtly sweet to robust and dry. Browse our online store to find the perfect sake for your next dinner party!