People who want to enjoy alcohol with their sushi probably wonder what type of alcohol pairs best with it, right? The standard pairing is Japanese sake. Of course there are also people who don’t like sake or who can’t buy it where they live, so we’ll be introducing non-sake pairings that go well with sushi as well.
Japanese Sake Pairings for Sushi
Because sake is made from rice, it pairs with sushi well. Sake also tends to cancel out the strong fishy smell and flavor that sushi has, so it’s the best pairing to fully enjoy it. However, it’s important to keep in mind that there are different sake pairings for different types of fish.
Tuna and Other Red Fish
As you can see in the photo above, tuna, bonito, and other such red fish have a lot of fat so their umami flavor is strong. This is why junmaishu, a type of sake made without extra sugar, is a good pairing. Lighter sakes will lose against the strong umami flavor of red fish and the flavors won’t balance out.
Tuna Belly, Salmon, and Other Fatty Parts
To really bring out the sweetness of the fat in tuna belly and salmon, honjozoshu, made without the addition of saccharides, is recommended. This pairing improves upon the richness of the fat.
Sea Bream, Flounder, and Other White Fish
Sea bream, flounder, and other such lighter white fish pair best with the light, dry flavor of ginjo sake.
Fish Using Sweet Sauces
Sushi that uses sweet and heavy sauces like conger eel pair well with sweet sakes. We also recommend chilled sake.
Beer Pairings for Sushi
Beer tends to amplify the fishiness of sushi, so it’s important to be careful when selecting one to pair with. Beers brewed using bottom fermentation have sulfur compounds and will emphasize the strong fishy smell and flavor of sushi. Beers brewed using top fermentation don’t contain many sulfur compounds, making them a good choice to pair with sushi.
Wine Pairings for Sushi
The easiest way to remember appropriate wine pairings for sushi is that white wines go with white fish, and red wines go with red fish. Sparkling wines and rosé wines make for a nice pairing with all varieties of fish.
White Fish and White Wines
We recommend choosing refreshing white wines to pair with sea bream, flounder, and other lighter white fish varieties. Chardonnays are perhaps the best pairing for this type of fish.
Sweet White Wines for Seafood with Slight Sweetness
Squid, Japanese scallops, and other seafoods with a slight sweetness pair well with Riesling wines.
Red Wines for Red Fish
Red wines with light body that don’t include many tannins make for good pairings with red fish varieties.