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7 Drinks to Pair With Sushi

Sushi, a sublime fusion of flavors, textures, and artistry, deserves a beverage companion that complements its delicate complexity. 

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Woman's hands holding sushi with chopsticks and drink white wine, sitting on the wooden table with soy sauce, ginger and wasabi.

Choosing what to drink with sushi is an art in itself, as the right libation can elevate the dining experience to new heights. In this article, we embark on a tantalizing journey through the world of sushi pairings. From traditional sake and crisp Japanese beers to unexpected wine varietals and inventive cocktails, we’ll explore the harmonious interplay of flavors that enhance every bite of your favorite rolls and sashimi. Join us as we uncover the secrets to crafting the perfect sushi-drink symphony.

Sake

Japanese cold liquor 'Sake'. Sake is a Japanese national liquor.

Sake, often referred to as “rice wine,” is a quintessential choice when considering what to drink with sushi. This Japanese rice wine boasts a diverse range of flavors, from light and floral to rich and robust, making it a versatile companion to sushi’s various profiles. Its clean, umami-rich taste complements the subtleties of raw fish and the complexities of sushi rice, creating a harmonious pairing that amplifies the dining experience. Whether served hot or cold, exploring sake’s nuances adds a delightful layer to the art of sushi enjoyment.


Riesling

Riesling Wine

Riesling, a versatile white wine, offers a delightful contrast to the flavors of sushi. Its bright acidity and fruit-forward notes, ranging from crisp green apple to sweet peach, provide a refreshing balance to the umami-rich elements of sushi. Whether it’s a maki roll with spicy tuna or delicate sashimi, the clean and vibrant character of Riesling complements the cuisine. Making it an excellent choice for those seeking an alternative to traditional pairings like sake. The interplay of sweet and savory sensations makes Riesling an intriguing match for sushi aficionados looking to expand their palate.

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Japanese Beer

Japanese Beer

Japanese beer, known for its crisp and clean profile, serves as an excellent accompaniment to sushi. Brewed with precision and purity, these beers offer a refreshing contrast to the flavors of sushi. Whether it’s a classic lager or a more complex craft brew, the effervescence and mild bitterness of Japanese beer cut through the richness of sushi, cleansing the palate between bites. With their light, easy-drinking nature, these beers provide a harmonious and thirst-quenching experience that complements the delicate textures and umami flavors of sushi. making them a popular choice among sushi enthusiasts.


Genmaicha (roasted rice) tea

Genmaicha (roasted rice) tea

Genmaicha, also known as roasted rice tea, presents a unique and soothing option for sushi pairings. This Japanese green tea boasts a toasty aroma and a nutty, comforting flavor due to the roasted brown rice blended with green tea leaves. Its mellow, earthy notes complement the delicate seafood and seaweed in sushi, creating a balanced and grounding experience. Sipped hot or cold, Genmaicha offers a warm embrace, making it a favorite choice among those who appreciate its gentle and comforting character as a refreshing counterpoint to the complex textures and flavors of sushi.


Prosecco

Prosecco

Prosecco, the effervescent Italian sparkling wine, offers a playful and lively option for sushi pairings. Its bright, crisp acidity and delicate fruity notes, such as green apple and citrus, provide a refreshing contrast to the richness of sushi’s flavors. Whether enjoyed as an aperitif or throughout the meal, Prosecco’s bubbles cleanse the palate, enhancing the dining experience by adding a touch of celebration to each bite. Its versatility and effervescence make it a charming choice to elevate sushi indulgence, creating a delightful synergy of Italian sparkle and Japanese finesse.

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Pinot Grigio

Closeup of bottle of Italian Pinot Grigio white wine alcohol drink glass Kirkland brand bought at Costco on glass balcony table with river in background

Pinot Grigio, the crisp and refreshing white wine, brings a zesty, citrus-infused dimension to the sushi experience. With bright acidity and notes of lemon, green apple, and pear, it adds a vibrant contrast to the subtle flavors of sushi. This drink’s clean and elegant character complements the delicacy of raw fish and enhances the umami of soy sauce. Next time you enjoy sushi, consider a glass of Pinot Grigio to elevate your meal, creating a harmonious symphony of flavors. Embrace the art of pairing and let your taste buds dance in delight!


Red Wine

Pouring red wine from bottle into the wineglass

Red wine, with its rich, complex character, might not be the first choice for sushi, but it surprises with its versatility. Its bold tannins and dark fruit flavors can complement heartier sushi options, like those with grilled or spicy components. The contrast between the wine’s depth and the sushi’s subtlety creates an intriguing tasting experience. While unconventional, red wine with sushi can be a delightful exploration of flavors, offering a unique journey through the world of food and drink. Enjoy the unexpected and discover the symphony of flavors this pairing can offer.


7 Drinks to Pair With Sushi
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Paul Kushner

Written by Paul Kushner

Founder and CEO of MyBartender. Graduated from Penn State University. He always had a deep interest in the restaurant and bar industry. His restaurant experience began in 1997 at the age of 14 as a bus boy. By the time he turned 17 he was serving tables, and by 19 he was bartending/bar managing 6-7 nights a week.

In 2012, after a decade and a half of learning all facets of the industry, Paul opened his first restaurant/bar. In 2015, a second location followed, the latter being featured on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

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