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7 Drinks to Pair with Sushi

Japanese Sake and Sushi

It’s sushi night, everyone’s favorite meal! You can already taste the creamy, crunchy goodness of your favorite sushi roll swirling around in your mouth. But sometimes, that sushi can make you thirsty! You may be wondering what to drink with your favorite sushi roll to enhance the flavors of this tasty dish while cleansing your palette. You have plenty of delicious options, but if you want to take your whole experience up a notch, consider the below list. We’ve compiled the top picks that will complement your favorite maki roll or piece of sashimi! Each drink is light enough to let the flavors of fresh fish shine.

7. Beer

Although traditional, heavy lagers and IPA beers don’t typically pair well with light, zesty sushi flavors, a Japanese beer pairs quite perfectly.

Japanese beers are lighter and often sweeter than American beer. Japanese beer’s bubbly, crisp nature goes well with various sushi types, including maki, handrolls, and even some deep-fried chefs’ specials.

Some popular Japanese beers you might want to consider trying to include:

  • Sapporo Premium
  • Kirin light
  • Orion Premium draft beer
  • Kawaba Snow Weizen

My favorite is Orion Premium draft beer, as its light, nutty flavors round off a meal of fresh fish.

6. Sake

Sake is a fermented rice wine famous in Japanese culture.

Traditionally it’s served ceremonially in a signature porcelain bottle called a Tokkuri.

Sake is the national drink of Japan, which is one of the main reasons I recommend trying it with your delicious sushi on sushi night!

Sake has a light yet tangy flavor, which pairs nicely with the crunchy, flavorful sushi roll.

If you’re in an area with a bigger selection, you might be able to choose from the five flavors of sake. These flavors include the following flavor profiles:

  • Dry
  • Bitter
  • Astringent
  • Sweet
  • Acidic

Each type of sake pairs well with different types of sushi, depending on which sushi roll you’re indulging in. For a traditional spread, I opt for acidic sake.

Check out our favorite sakes or mix up a sake cocktail!

5. Wine

When figuring out what to drink with sushi, it’s always best to let the flavor of the fish be your guide.

While you can opt for any wine, try to avoid red wines. Instead, indulge in a glass of white wine or rosé.

See also  11 Most Popular Sushi Rolls to Order

Lighter wines pair nicely with most fish flavors since they’re fresh, acidic, and slightly sweet. I typically like to drink Sauvignon Blanc with sushi rolls that are spicy and bold in flavor.

I find that this wine varietal elevates any freshness and washes down the food perfectly. If you’re hoping for a more high-end meal, opt for a Processo. You won’t be disappointed!

4. Champagne

On the topic of wine, sparkling wine like champagne is a great companion to sushi!

Let’s pop some bubbly up in here! Champagne is another great drink with sushi because it’s bubbly, light, crisp, and delicious. Sushi is an indulgent treat, so why not pair it with another one? 

The crisp flavor of the champagne helps balance out the fatty oils and intricate flavors you get from sushi while also providing a refreshing finish. So when thinking about what to drink with sushi, never count out champagne!

Champagne is an especially great option if you’re planning to eat out at a top sushi restaurant or looking to enhance a special night in with your favorite meal.

3. German Riesling Wine

If bubbly isn’t quite your thing but you’re thinking you want wine, try pairing your sushi with a German Riesling Wine.

Dry white wine, such as a riesling, contains citrus fruit notes and has a floral aroma. Both of these flavors pair nicely with the fresh, salty sushi flavors.

In my opinion, a dry German riesling wine pairs best with sushi rolls made with tuna, salmon, and crab.

It also creates a pleasant, smooth after-taste that cuts the salt and refreshes your palette for the next tasty bite! 

One of my favorites is the Leitz German Reisling wine. This wine is light, crisp, and has notes of cherries and blackberries with a smooth finish.

2. Non-Alcoholic 

There are plenty of delicious non-alcoholic beverages that pair nicely with sushi. One of my favorite options is ginger ale. 

There’s a reason why Japanese restaurants always serve ginger sauces on the side with sushi, as the ginger acts as a palette cleanser in between different sushi rolls.

The sweet, bubbly nature of the ginger ale naturally makes it a great palette cleanser, and the subtle flavors blend nicely with the ever-changing flavors you experience when trying different sushi.

I think ginger ale pairs best with the California roll, the spicy shrimp roll, and the Philadelphia roll.

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If you’re not a fan of ginger ale, you could also have an iced tea or a mellow fruity soda.

1. Cocktails

Sushi is full of protein with high amounts of fats, oils, and fresh flavors, so anything tart and acidic pairs well with the dish.

I love a good old-fashioned lemon drop martini! The zesty, aromatic flavor of the vodka mixed with the acidity of the lemon creates the perfect combination. 

The lemon-drop martini goes well with the bold flavors of sushi, including:

  • The dragon roll
  • Alaskan roll
  • The Kryptonite roll

Whiskey isn’t a bad option for a sushi pairing either. Whiskey is a strong, robust drink that will help balance out your palette. To stay on theme, try a Japanese whisky!

From sweet to tangy to salty, sushi has your taste buds jumping all over the place, and whiskey is the perfect beverage to regain equilibrium. 

If you’re fortunate and can get your paws on the Yamazakura Asaka Japanese Sherry, that would be a treat!

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian attended West Virginia University, then started his career in the IT industry before following his passion for marketing and hospitality. He has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and bar industry.

As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.

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