Sake 101

Think you finally have a handle on food and wine pairings? Red wine with steak, so on and so forth. Rob Holder, Beverage Director and Certified Sake Professional at Scottsdale’s Roka Akor restaurant, has a few tips for upping the sipping ante at your next dinner party: sake pairings.
• Junmai often goes well with fish like black cod because of its acidity and weight.
• Honjozo goes well with balanced, lighter seafood. Honjozo sake is among my favorites because I think it has a great texture and flavor profile.
• If you’re looking for sake that has a little more of a fragrant nose, try Ginjo or Junmai Ginjo. These options should pair well with salmon.
• If you want delicate sake that is light and drinks almost like water, go for a Daiginjo or Junmai Daiginjo. I like to start here and finish with Honjozo or a Junmai because once palate fatigue sets in, you can’t really pick up on the finer points of the Daiginjo.
• I like the weight of Junmai and Honjozo with meats and items from the grill.
• A favorite dessert sake is Nigori. Most people will refer to these as being “unfiltered” because of its cloudy appearance and sometimes gritty mouthfeel. You tend to get more sweetness with a Nigori sake. I like what some of the producers have done with sparkling sake or even sparkling Nigori. These are fun, different and can make your meal a little more unique.
For more info on Scottsdale’s Roka Akor, visit

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