How to Understand a Sake Menu

Timothy Sullivan of Urban Sake helps to decipher the different kinds of sake
How to Understand a Sake Menu

Timothy Sullivan of Urban Sake helps to decipher the different kinds of sake


Sake has grown in popularity as Japanese food and sushi have become mainstream. Yet most Americans still know very little about sake — and while it’s a topic as large as other drinks like wine or beer, Timothy Sullivan believes that the basics are easy to learn!

In the video above, Sullivan takes us through the basics of how to look at a menu and know what to order. He says to always start with Junmai — it’s the easiest way to make sure you’re getting something of a quality that is worth drinking. Sullivan says, "I like to teach my students one word: Junmai. Junmai means pure rice. And if you see Junmai in the name of the sake, in the classification of the sake you know you are getting a pure rice sake. What that means is that there’s only rice, water, yeast, and no additives, no added alcohol." Beyond that there are different classifications of Junmai and you can also look at the menu for filtered versus unfiltered options.

To delve further into sake, watch the video above, and if you’d like to learn more you can always head over to Sullivan’s website Urban Sake.

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