At the recent 11th annual Joy of Sake tasting event in New York City, attendees had the opportunity to taste more than 300 of the best sakes in the world. Showcasing all of the sakes awarded gold and silver medals by the U.S. National Sake Appraisal, a panel made up of the most notable sake aficionados in the world, the event is dedicated to highlighting the complex and defining flavors that make sake a drink worth savoring.
Sake can be broken up into many different sub-categories, each of which were represented by the very best of their respective families, from daiginjo to junmai. From those, we’ve compiled a list of 15 favorites — ranging from very dry to very fruity, each one showing how unique sake can be.
While this may be a list of our favorites, sake, like wine or beer, is about finding the flavors and styles that best suit you. Are you a no-nonsense, dry daiginjo; or are you a fruity, fun junmai? Does the occasion call for a more expensive variety like daiginjo (the rice used to make these is usually more polished, giving it a more refined rice flavor), or a less expensive nigori (a "cloudy" sake popular in the U.S.)?
Start by checking these highly recommended brands, and be sure to branch out and find a corner of the big world of sake to call your own.