What is sake?

Sake is a Japanese alcoholic beverage that is made from fermented rice. Often referred to as “Japanese rice wine,” sake (pronounced “sah-keh”) is actually closer to beer than to wine in its brewing process, however, it is light in color with a hint of sweetness.

Four ingredients are required to make sake: rice, koji, yeast, and water. The rice grains are polished to remove the bran, then mixed with koji mold, yeast, and water in a fermentation process that converts the starches into sugar, which then ferments into alcohol.


Sake is traditionally poured into square wooden boxes or small sake cups, but sake can also be enjoyed from a wine glass.

This varies depending on the sake and your taste preference. From the Hakutsuru Ukiyo-e series, Junmai Daiginjo and Daiginjo are best served chilled, while Junmai can be served chilled, at room temperature, or warm.

None of the above! Sake is in a class of its own. It is made from fermented rice, so in that way, it’s more similar to beer, but the taste experience is more like that of wine. Try Hakutsuru Ukiyo-e Sake and find out!

Sake is slightly stronger than most wines with Hakutsuru Ukiyo-e Sake containing between 15.3% and 15.5% alcohol by volume (ABV).

Definitely sipped! Preferably from a traditional square wooden box called a “masu,” or from a small sake cup or a wine glass.

Junmai Daiginjo indicates that the rice is polished to at least 50% of its original size and only made with water, koji, and yeast. Daiginjo is made with rice milled to at least 50% of its original size, water, koji, and a small amount of brewers’ alcohol added for stylistic purposes. Junmai indicates the sake is brewed with only rice, water, yeast, and koji.

Japanese food, of course! As well as many other foods from different cuisines. Please see our Products page for Suggested Pairings.