Marisa Chavetz / Supercall

Sake • Dry

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Like over-sauced, over-garnished maki rolls and vegan sushi, the Saketini is an American invention. And like those other garish “innovations” on simple Japanese products, the drink doesn’t always do justice to the original. Made with poor quality wine or buried beneath fruit juices or saccharine mixers, the harsh flavor of a bad Saketini can overpower even the strongest of raw fish pairings. Respect for sake (along with a highly traditional cocktail scene) has mostly deterred Japanese bartenders from mixing cocktails with sake, but there is a way for Americans to redeem themselves and do the rice wine justice with a bright and floral cocktail. As with other simple Martini variations, the path to success lies in quality ingredients. Begin with a good sake. If you have variety to choose from, go for a Junmai, Junmai Ginjo or Namazake, which tend to be crisp, clean and slightly fruity. For gin, opt for an American gin or other juniper-averse bottling, since the piney taste can cross wires with the delicate, bright flavors of the rice wine. (And if you want a Saketini like no other, grab a bottle of Japanese gin like the one made by Nikka, which bursts with Japanese citrus, sanshō pepper and a hint of green apple). Finally, drop a bar spoon of Maraschino liqueur into the mixing glass to add a touch of sweet nuance to the cocktail, and to emphasize the floral and fruity character even further. (This addition was inspired by Kenta Goto’s Sakura Martini at Bar Goto in New York. While it technically makes the cocktail an “Improved” Saketini, but we can’t imagine drinking the basic cocktail any other way now.) Be sure to give this one a nice long stir to incorporate everything and really chill the drink. The result is a fresh palate cleanser of a cocktail worth sipping between bites of a high-end, full-month’s-rent omakase.

The Essentials

Bar Spoon
The Details


1.5 oz Quality Sake
.75 oz Gin
1 bar spoon Luxardo Maraschino liqueur


  • Combine ingredients in a mixing glass with ice, and stir very well.
  • Strain into a chilled coupe glass.
Gin Sour Easy
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