Toshi Koizumi, the sake sommelier at Wasan restaurant, and Chris Johnson, the sake sommelier at Cherry Restaurant and Cherry Izakaya, love sharing their sake knowledge. To help you find a bottle to enjoy at your own home, follow their lead and head to these stores that treat sake with the care it deserves.


SAKES TO TRY

3 Affordable Sakes

Shintaro Shintaro Junmai Karakuchi $28 (Buy)
It has hints of melon aroma, sharp and well-balanced.

Naraman Origarami Junmai $33 (Buy)
It’s a smooth sake with hints of banana and pineapple aroma. Serve it either hot or cold.

Mizubasho Ginjo Sake $29 (Buy)
It’s clean, pure, and smooth with aromas of green apple and hay.

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3 More Expensive Sakes

Dassai 39 Junmai Daiginjo $40 (Buy)
It has strawberry and lily aromas, it’s smooth like silk. “39” means the rice is polished into 39% of the original size.

Juyondai Junmai Ginjo $110 (Buy)
Juyondai means 14th generation. It has aromas of peach, apricot, and honey-accented sweetness. It’s well-rounded with an intricate taste.

Born Muroka Nama Genshu Junmai Daiginjo $44 (Buy)
It is unpasteurized, undiluted and un-charcoaled sake. It is rich with hints of cotton candy, honey and has a long finish.


NYC SHOPPING GUIDE

Sake at Sakaya | Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

Sake at Sakaya | Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

Sakaya

This temple of sake is the kind of place you go to when your corner liquor store just won’t do the trick. They carry over 100 bottles of premium sake, all artisanal and unique producers that are not readily available in the US.

"The owners, Rick and Hiroko, know a lot about sake and are very good at recommending bottles depending on your situation, such as for a gift or a party or to drink yourself."
FED Pro  >  Sake Sommelier Toshi Koizumi (Wasan)

"Great service, great knowledge, and two amazing people, Rick and Hiroko, make this the place to go for sake in NYC."
FED Pro  >  Sake Sommelier Chris Johnson (Cherry)

324 East 9th Street, New York, NY 10003
T: 212.505.7253 | www.sakayanyc.com

Astor Wines & Spirits

Astor tops the pros' lists for their wide variety of liquors and wines. Their sake program is no different.

"I only trust a liquor store where they keep sake in the fridge. I see some liquor stores keep the sake in front of the store, which is exposed to sunlight. Sake should be stored just like a white wine. At Astor, they store their sake in the fridge. The staff is very knowledgeable and understand both wine and sake. You can ask the staff about sake and they will pick you the best sake for the particular situation."
FED Pro  >  Sake Sommelier Toshi Koizumi (Wasan)

399 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10003
T: 212.674.7500 | www.astorwines.com


The sake room at Ambassador Wines & Spirits | Photograph courtesy of Ambassador Wines & Spirits

The sake room at Ambassador Wines & Spirits | Photograph courtesy of Ambassador Wines & Spirits

Ambassador Wines & Spirits

This is a third generation-run liquor store with a wide selection, including sake, sherry and wines from places like Israel. They have a dedicated fridge just for sake.

"The ambiance is really cool, especially downstairs, which is like a secret cave and they have a fridge stocked with only sake."
FED Pro  >  Sake Sommelier Toshi Koizumi (Wasan)

"A stalwart in the sake department for years, they have a great selection and even have a special room for sake."
FED Pro  >  Sake Sommelier Chris Johnson (Cherry)

1020 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10022
T: 212.421.5078 | www.ambassadorwines.com


In addition to sake, Mitsuwa offers a large selection of shochu | Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

In addition to sake, Mitsuwa offers a large selection of shochu | Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

Mitsuwa

Take the trip from NYC out to New Jersey to discover this mecca for all things Japanese. In addition to the food court and Asian ingredients, they have a deep selection of sake and shochu.

"It's in New Jersey, but it is worth it to come here. It’s a huge supermarket for Japanese groceries. You can get anything Japanese here, including sake and at a lower price too. They also have a shuttle bus from Port Authority."
FED Pro  >  Sake Sommelier Toshi Koizumi (Wasan)

595 River Road, Edgewater, NJ 07020
T: 201.941.9113 | www.mitsuwa.com


FED Pros

Toshi Koizumi

Toshi Koizumi runs the sake program at Wasan in NYC's East Village. He features over 40 different kinds of sake with a seasonal sake, unpasteurized sake, undiluted sake and aged sake. He is certified by the Sommelier Society of Wine and was a finalist at the World Sake Competition in the New York region.

Chris Johnson

Chris Johnson, AKA the Sake Ninja, is the sake sommelier at New York’s Cherry restaurant and the recently opened Cherry Izakaya in Brooklyn. At Cherry, he has created a sake list that is both diverse and large, with more than 80 sakes. His goal is to be able to serve sake to both the novice and the expert, yet also pair it with their French-influenced Japanese cuisine.


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