Sushi and Spirits: A Perfect Pairing

October 05, 2012 - posted by Hanaichi

Sushi and Spirits: A Perfect Pairing?

Sushi is a versatile Japanese dish that goes well with a wide variety of drinks. Hardcore sushi fans say that sushi, when paired with alcoholic beverages, like beer, enhance umami, the fifth flavor that an indescribable depth of taste to a dish. Often described as a rich or savory flavor, umami covers a wide range of flavors including those in meat, mushrooms and cheese.

Since sushi is served with wasabi, a green, horseradish paste, it’s best to tone down the heat of wasabi if you plan to pair sushi with any drink, like wine, beer or for a more unique experience, champagne.


Most sushi connoisseurs avoid pairing sushi with sake since both have an ingredient in common, rice. If, however, if you love pairing sushi with sake, by all means, go for it. The beauty of indulging in culinary delights is having the freedom to eat it the way you want it. Fu-Ki, a fruity fine sake goes well with any vinegar-based dishes including sushi, sashimi, smoked salmon or seafood salad. Gekkeikan is another sake type that’s perfect with salmon, sashimi, calamari and spring rolls.


Full-bodied lagers, with the bitterness of hops and deep flavors enhance the taste of sushi, bringing out its rich, salty-sweet taste that delights the taste buds. Yeast, a common component in beer, is rich in umami, making a beer and sushi pairing a match in heaven. Beer also complements the flavor of the soy sauce and wasabi perfectly.


Wine works great at cleansing the palate and paired with sushi, it’s a great complement for the dish. Just like beer, wine contains natural yeastiness that adds a deep, rich layer of flavor to the sushi. Wine also helps cuts down the intense heat of the wasabi for a more enjoyable eating.


Champagne and sushi is a divine, albeit uncommon pairing. Champagne has a fruity, smoky taste, sensual bubbles that go on smoothly with the clean, crisp taste of raw fish. Sushi, sashimi and Crudo are great when eaten with Champagne. However, it’s important to keep a controlled amount of wasabi or soy sauce to enhance the experience of eating sushi or sashimi with Champagne. Champaign does contain yeast, which makes a great accent for oceanic flavors. The acidity of the wine helps cuts down the oiliness of the fish.

Pairing spirits with Japanese dishes is not limited to sushi alone. In fact, sashimi, tempura, yakitori and even takoyaki go well with a wide range of alcoholic drinks like beer or sake! It’s just a matter of preference and open-mindedness. The key to discover great flavors is to not be afraid to try new things!

If you love fresh, authentic Japanese dishes, including tempura, sushi and sashimi, then there’s no better place to indulge in fabulous Japanese cuisine than at Hanaichi sushi bar and resto! Featuring a long list of popular Japanese dishes, it’s a fun, fabulous place to hang out, eat great food and yes, even pair them with your favorite drinks! Click here to check out Hanaichi’s latest menu and here for drinks.


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