1.5 oz. gin, vodka or vermouth
1.5 oz. sake
Cucumber slices or pearl onion
Mix alcohol with ice. Shake and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with thin cucumber
Sake, said to have originated in China around 4800 BC, and now a staple accompaniment to Japanese meals and Austin Powers hot-tub seduction scenes, is a light alcohol made from rice that is believed not to cause hangovers. It is traditionally served slightly chilled or gently warmed, but recently sake has been used in an array of cocktails.
Many popular sake drinks, such as the Sake Bloody Mary and Sake Margarita, simply substitute sake for other, harder alcohols. But the Sake Martini—nicknamed the Saketini—pairs dry sake with an alcohol to enhance the taste of both. Kei Okada of Ginza, an upscale Boston sushi restaurant, describes the benefits of the Sake Martini: “It is much smoother than a regular martini. Also, because sushi contains rice and sake is brewed from rice the two complement each other very well.” Okada recommends Kariho-Namahage or Onikoroshi sake because they are both appropriately dry. Ginza finishes the drink with cucumber slices to further enhance the lightness.
There are many varieties of the Sake Martini, and while the recipe above calls for equal proportions, many choose to either emphasize the sake or the hard liquor, or to sample different brands of sake. The Japanese have brewing down to a fine art and pride themselves on the variety of tastes.