Sushi and Sake Lovers Unite
Sushi and Sake go together like ribeye and cabernet, like motorcycles and sidecars, like a fresh Churchill and a piping hot cup of café Cubano, the only question is — what sake goes with which roll?
According to NYC sommelier Samuel Davies, it depends on the fat, oil, and protein content of the roll’s featured fish. “For example, sea bass is high in protein so you need a sake with high acidity to cut through and relieve the palate. Or if you have something fattier, richer, oilier like toro (fatty tuna), you can opt for a sake that has a little palate weight—something that accentuates the oils in the fish,” Davies told Food & Wine Magazine.
And all of that translates into these pairings:
California Roll – Junmai Ginjo Sake
As always, you can ask your server for recommendations on a particular bottle but, generally speaking, California rolls play nicely with Junmai Gingo. The full-bodied, slightly acidic flavor profile of the sake will prove to be just what you need to complement the rich, creamy roll.
Yellowtail Roll – Junmai Ginjo Sake
Again, to achieve optimum pallet balance, a full-bodied, slightly acidic sake is recommended to complement the oily, fatty, Yellowtail Tuna.
Salmon Roll – Ginjo Sake
Salmon is less oily and fatty than the Yellowtail, meaning a slightly fruity Ginjo sake will do just fine. Some even say that Salmon possesses a ‘fruity’ texture, which furthers the case for a Ginjo.
Fluke Roll – Daiginjo Sake
Although not as common as your Salmon roll, a Fluke roll can be blissfully enjoyed with a nice Daiginjo. It’s a firmly textured fish but quickly becomes tender, and it’s light taste pairs well with the light and fruity sake counterpart.
Tuna Roll – Ginjo Sake
One of the industry standards, the Tuna roll plays well with lots of sakes, especially with a creamy and light Ginjo. So go ahead, experiment — you’re already eating sushi.
What are your thoughts? Do you have any favorite pairings? If so, let us know in the comments below!