Sake VS Tequila: Which Is Stronger?

If you have ever tried sake and tequila, you’ll know that both drinks are strong alcohols, especially when compared to beer! But which one is stronger, sake or tequila?

You’re looking for the answer, so here it is: tequila is stronger than sake. In fact, tequila is a clear winner, as it typically has a 40% alcohol content (ABV) while the alcohol content in sake is usually between 13% and 17% ABV.

Sake VS Tequila Which Is Stronger

Despite that, sake and tequila are both drunk differently, with different production processes, tastes, and ways that they can be mixed.

So for more information on sake and tequila, including the main differences between sake and tequila, how sake and tequila taste, and more, keep on reading. 

What Is Sake?

Yet to try sake? Sake is a traditional Japanese alcoholic beverage, often referred to as “rice wine” or Nihonshu in Japan. It has cultural, historical, and ceremonial significance in Japan, and has been drunk for over a millennium!

Due to its traditional and cultural importance, sake is often drunk during special occasions and celebrations – generally in social groups as opposed to alone! It’s also often enjoyed with food in Japan, such as sushi or other popular Japanese seafood dishes.

Sake is brewed from rice mixed with other ingredients, so it can taste slightly different depending on the brewing process. Some sake tastes bitter, refreshing, and crisp while other sake beverages can be sweet and fruity.

While sake is a traditional Japanese beverage, it has grown in popularity around the world, which has led to different ways it can be drunk and enjoyed. 

How Is Sake Made?

Sake is made from rice that has been processed so that its outer layers are removed, leaving only the starchy center. This part of the rice is then washed and steamed in preparation for the brewing process.

The brewing process of sake involves mixing the rice with water and koji, then leaving the mixture to ferment until it becomes “koji”. This grainy substance is then mixed with more rice, water, and yeast to begin another fermentation process, during which the mixture becomes alcoholic.

Once this fermentation is complete, the sake liquid is separated from the rice, then filtered to remove any remaining impurities. Other ingredients may be added at this stage to increase or improve the flavor of the sake.

Sake can be aged, but most sake is bottled straightaway to be consumed young!

How Much Alcohol Is in Sake?

Sake generally has an average alcohol content of 15%. This can be as low as 13%, though, and as high as 17%, depending on the type of sake. As a result, sake is stronger than most wines!

So it can be easy to get drunk on sake, especially if it is drunk in bottles. In Japan, common sake bottle sizes include 180 milliliters, 360 milliliters, 720 milliliters, and 1800 milliliters – measured in a Japanese sake measurement called go

One go is the same as 180 milliliters, which is also the same size as a single masu cup – the traditional cup sake is served and drunk in.

Due to that, sake is traditionally consumed slowly in small sips. This is done to savor the aroma and taste of the sake, which is considered a cultural practice in Japan.

Sake VS Tequila Which Is Stronger (1)

What Is Tequila?

Haven’t tried tequila yet?

Tequila is a distilled spirit that is made from the blue agave plant. This plant is mostly grown in Mexico and, because of that, tequila is widely considered to be a Mexican alcoholic beverage.

Tequila has a sharp and herbaceous flavor, sometimes with notes of citrus, pepper, and earthy undertones. Despite that, tequila is typically enjoyed as a shot, followed by a wedge of lime and a sprinkle of salt to balance the spirit’s sharp taste.

It can also be mixed, however, to make a variety of cocktails, including the Margarita – a bar favorite that mixes tequila with lime juice and triple sec. 

Like sake, tequila is popular around the world!

How Is Tequila Made?

Unlike sake, which is brewed, tequila is distilled. It is made by harvesting and cooking the blue agave plant, creating a sugar mixture that is then fermented and distilled to create a clear liquid. 

This liquid is called “ordinario”, which can then be aged to create a more mature, complex flavor. In this case, the tequila is aged in oak barrels for at least two months, up to one year or three years. 

After one year, the tequila becomes “añejo”. After three years, the tequila becomes “extra añejo”. Tequila that isn’t aged is usually called either blanco tequila or silver tequila.

How Much Alcohol Is in Tequila?

Most tequila is generally around 40% ABV. It can be much stronger, however, depending on the type of tequila and how it’s made, as some tequilas can be as strong as 55% ABV!

Due to its strong alcohol content and sharp, bitter taste, tequila is typically drunk as a shot and followed by a wedge of lime and salt. This is a common way to drink tequila in Mexico as well as countries around the world.

Despite that, tequila can also be drunk straight or mixed with other drinks. Popular ways to mix tequila include mixing it with lime and triple sec (known as a Margarita), with orange juice (known as a Tequila Sunrise), with tomato juice (known as a Bloody Maria), and more.

Sake VS Tequila – Which Is Stronger?

If you read the above, the answer is clear: tequila is stronger than sake! 

In fact, tequila is a clear winner, as tequila typically has 40% ABV or more while sake generally stays around 15% ABV, between 13% ABV and 17% ABV.

This means that tequila has around 25% higher alcohol content than sake, and will get you drunk much faster than drinking the same amount of sake.

The Differences Between Sake And Tequila

Sake and tequila are alcoholic beverages that are both considered strong when compared to other alcohols, like beer and wine. But alcohol content isn’t the only way they differ! 

More differences between sake and tequila:

  • Sake is brewed from rice and water while tequila is distilled and made from the blue agave plant
  • Sake is popular in Japan while tequila is more popular in Mexico
  • Sake has a crisp or fruity taste while tequila is sharp and sometimes citrusy and peppery
  • Sake is traditionally sipped slowly in Japan while tequila is usually drunk quickly as a shot with lime and salt
  • Sake can be served at room temperature or warm while tequila is served at room temperature or chilled

Due to these differences, it’s fair to say that sake and tequila are two very different alcoholic drinks!


In conclusion, tequila is stronger than sake. The alcohol content of tequila is typically 40% ABV or more while the alcohol content of sake is between 13% ABV and 17% ABV.

As a result, drinking tequila will get you drunk faster than drinking sake. 

Still, both alcoholic beverages are worth savoring for their unique tastes. Sake and tequila can be drunk straight or mixed, providing endless ways to enjoy each alcohol.

Of course, just make sure to drink sake or tequila (whichever one you prefer) responsibly!

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