Whether it’s a hearty Rioja to pair with roast lamb or a crisp sake to match with sashimi, the general rules of matching foods with drink remain the same. Stripping away the technicalities, the simplest way to approach pairing is to match the body of the wine with the body (weight) of the food. So when it comes to sushi, here are some ideas:
For sashimi (raw fish), go for a more delicate Ginjo or Dai-ginjo to match the purity of light fish such as scallop and crab. For fish with more oil and weight such as tuna, salmon or octopus, a Junmai Ginjo or Junmai Dai-ginjo will have more umami and body. Dai-ginjo and Junmai Dai-ginjo also do a nice job of cleaning up the saltiness of soy sauce and pronouncing the fish flavour.
If you prefer more rice and seaweed orientated sushi such as nigiri, maki, uramaki and temaki, opt for a fuller Junmai or Honjozo to match the heavier food. These types of sake are also fare better against sweet and spicy sauces.
Sake - warm or chilled?
Once you’ve selected your sake, the final debate is whether to go traditional and warm it, or chill it for a crisper style. If you’re tempted to try it warm, avoid Dai-ginjo or Ginjo - the light, delicate flavours will be muddled and masked by heat. Instead choose a Junmai for a more heady, rounded drink or a Honjozo for aromatic, floral flavour. Of course, at the end of the day, the best way to find the perfect match is to experiment! Order in the sushi, pin down your polishing preference and taste your sake chilled, at room temperature or warmed - itadakimasu!
Did you enjoy this feature? Watch our beginner's guide to sake video here
! Ever tried british Sake? take a look at England's first sake brewery, Kanpai here