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Sparkling Sake

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All about sparkling sake

What is sparkling sake?

Let’s be honest: bubbles usually make things more fun. Sparkling sake is a bit of a snappier take on sake, the classic Japanese rice wine. Producers can take the flavor in lots of directions, but sparkling sake will always have that refreshing bite of carbon dioxide. With all its fruity, citrusy flavor options and lower alcohol content than regular sake, sparkling sake might bubble up in more scenarios than you might think!

Sparkling sake production

Traditional sparkling sake starts out with a time-honored sake brewing process. Brewers take steamed, polished rice and inoculate it with a special fungus called “koji”. The koji turns the starch in the rice into sugar, making it available to yeast for fermentation. The koji/yeast partnership is obviously crucial for alcoholic fermentation, but it’s also key to developing a lot of the fruity, nutty and even umami flavors that make sake – and sparkling sake - exciting. For the sparkling effect, you can “force carbonate” it, but many producers use the super-cool trick of letting carbon dioxide from fermentation re-enter and carbonate their sake naturally. Finally, while regular sake is usually 15-20% alcohol, sparkling sake usually dilutes to 4-10%, which we think gives it lots of possibilities. As a rice beverage, it’s also usually gluten free.

What does sparkling sake taste like and what kinds of flavors are there?

Without additional flavorings, sparkling sake will vary between sweetness/dryness, but its flavor usually delights as delicately fruity or citrusy. Occasional touches of nutty roundness are really welcoming, too. Rarely are they too intense. The carbonation adds bright crispness that also helps cut through the sweetness in some examples. That’s just a standard version, too. Several flavored versions are on the market today, ranging from strawberry and grapefruit to tart yuzu offerings. Keep an eye out for new entries!

Serving and drinking sparkling sake

Serve your sparkling sake chilled, but not ice cold. Some stronger, sweeter versions are splendid for champagne flute toasts. Other lower-alcohol versions migrate from the dinner table to the patio, the beach, and beyond. Enjoy them right out of the can just as you would with any other light beverage.

It’s still relatively obscure, but sparkling sake can spritz up your sake experience or even transcend basic light beer with a crushable cooler of 4% ABV strawberry sparklers. Quench your curiosity with Drizly! Shop Drizly by clicking on these links to search for Drizly in your city and look for liquor stores on Drizly near you.

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