Pop Open Some Sake

Pop Open Some Sake

What to drink with our New Year’s mochi menu

Japanese New Year’s celebrations call for a cup of otoso, sake that has been steeped with a medicinal herb blend. Or you can have your sake imbued with cedar: Another tradition involves breaking open a wooden cask of sake, called taruzake. But we like the flavors of the sake to shine, so to accompany our mochi-making New Year’s celebration, we offer six food-friendly bottles recommended by sake sensei John Gauntner. And for more expert info, watch our Sake Obsessive video. Be forewarned: Though you’re not partying at the local club, sake still has a way of getting to you. So ring in the New Year right, but don’t go whining if a hangover sets in anyway. —Roxanne Webber

Nishinoseki “Champion of the West”

$24
A slightly sweet and rich junmai from the Oita Prefecture. Gauntner says it will “tie in with the richness of mochi.”

Mukune “Root of Innocence”

$39.99
Gauntner describes this junmai ginjo as clean and centered, “broad and chewy.” Works well with salty foods.

Mantensei “Star-Filled Sky”

$33.99
A balanced, well-structured junmai ginjo with a hint of cocoa on the nose—Gauntner says it will “surely coax out some of the deeper flavors” in mochi-based dishes.

Chikurin “Fukamari”

$30.99
This junmai is “almost dripping with the flavors of the rice from which it was brewed,” says Gauntner.

Nanbu Bijin “Southern Beauty”

$34.99
A fruity and grassy junmai ginjo. Gauntner says it has a “delicately interwoven blend of tightly bound flavors” that offer good contrast to the rice in mochi.

Daishichi Kimoto

$40
The slightly smoky and gamy flavors of this junmai will complement toasted or grilled dishes like our Norimaki Mochi. Gauntner says it’s an “exquisitely balanced” sake. Order from Astor Wines & Spirits at 212-674-7500.