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Sake to Me: Where to Get Japan’s Favorite Drink in Washington
Celebrate Washington’s cherry trees, gifts from the Japanese in 1912, with a round of Japan’s most well-known drink: sake. Here’s where to get glasses and bottles of the stuff, plus some interesting—and tasty—sake cocktails. By Emily Leaman, Julyssa Lopez
Mmm, sake.
Comments () | Published March 15, 2010
More from our Cherry Blossom Guide:

Picnic Under the Blossoms
Cherry Blossom Cocktails
Cherry Blossoms at Restaurants

> >See our full Guide to the Cherry Blossoms

Asia Nine
This pan-Asian dining room, which seats guests for lunch, dinner, late night, and weekend brunch, serves hot, cold, and sparkling sake. There are also dessert varieties available. During the Cherry Blossom Festival, be sure to try the specialty concoction: cherry-infused sake. Prices range from $4 to $10 for a glass, and $14 to $169 for a bottle.  

Cafe Japone
This seven-days-a-week karoke bar/lounge/restaurant attracts a rowdy weekend crowd; karoke gets them into the place, but the sake bombs—a sake-beer combo—keep them there. Karoke starts at 9:30, and although there’s no cover, there’s a $10 minimum per person on weekdays and $15 on weekends.

Kaz Sushi Bistro
Not far from the Tidal Basin, ground zero for cherry blossoms, is this Foggy Bottom sushi spot, which packs a generous sake list. Bottles range from $15 to $120 and are categorized by terms such as “fragrant” or “light and smooth” for neophytes; look to the menu’s right panel for longer descriptions of each category. Six-ounce sake pitchers can be had for $7 to $9, or you can order tastings of three types of sake for $9 or $12. Sake cocktails include martini-inspired concoctions such as the Plum Wine Sake-Tini and the Cosmo Sake-Tini (both $7).

Oya
Twenty sake labels make the cut on Oya’s robust wine list. The Penn Quarter dining room takes the rice drink seriously: A note on the menu explains that sake varieties—honjozo/junmai, ginjo, and dai-ginjo—are determined by how much of the rice grain is polished away before brewing. Honjozo/junmai is the lowest grade, being 30 percent polished, and dai-ginjo, at more than 50 percent polished, is best. Oya’s sake comes in 6-to-24-ounce servings.

Sei
This sleek Penn Quarter sushi spot is stocked with more than 50 sake labels along with 20 other Japanese spirits. The sake is organized by flavor profile–categories run the gamut from "fragrant" to "light and smooth"—and you can get it by the glass or bottle. 

The Source
Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant in the Newseum boasts a wine list with five types of sake. You can also sample it by the glass or try one of the specialty cocktails, such as the sake-based Asian Pear Drop ($12).

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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 03/15/2010 RSS | Print | Permalink | Comments () | Washingtonian.com Articles