What Percent Alcohol Is Sake?

What Percent Alcohol Is Sake 

If you’re a fan of Japanese cuisine, it’s likely that you’ve heard of sake. However, the beverage may still remain a bit of a mystery to you. Is it wine? Is it hard liquor? Is it even alcoholic? 

If you’re looking for answers to questions such as these, don’t worry, we have got you covered.

What Percent Alcohol Is Sake 

To learn more about sake, from its traditional origins to its use in modern cocktails, take a look at the information below (see also ‘How To Drink Sake‘)!

What Is Sake?

Sake (see also ‘Does Sake Expire?‘) is a wonderful drink with a very rich history. It is a traditional Japanese beverage made from fermented rice. Although it is sometimes referred to as wine, sake is very different from your regular red, white, or rose. 

In fact, sake is made more like beer (see also,’What is Sake Made Of?‘). During the brewing process, the rice starch is converted into sugars and fermented into alcohol. However, whereas beer is brewed in two distinct steps, sake is created in just one step. 

How Do You Pronounce Sake? 

I once went on a date to a lovely, traditional sushi restaurant. When ordering, I suggested that we order some sake. However, when I did so, my date let out a slight giggle.

That’s when I knew I got it wrong. Ultimately, the date ended well, but I will remember that cringe-worthy moment for the rest of my life. 

So that you don’t have to go through the embarrassment that I did, try to memorize the following rule: 

‘sa-keh’ NOT ‘sa-kee’ 

Where Does Sake Come From? 

Even though it is considered to be a traditional Japanese drink, the origins of sake can be traced back to 4000 BC China. However, in around 300 BC, Japan became the first country to produce the drink in mass quantities.

By the 1300s, sake had become a ceremonial beverage in Japan. Now, sake is the national beverage of Japan.

What Is The Average Alcohol Content Of Sake?

Generally, sake has an alcohol content (ABV) of between 15% and 17%. This makes it quite a lot higher than many other popular alcoholic beverages, but not as high as hard liquors. It is often compared to strong wine. 

Why Is The Alcohol Content Of Sake So High?

The high alcohol content of sake is down to its unique fermentation process. As discussed earlier, sake is brewed in just one process.

This means that the alcohol is made as the yeasts consume sugar. To reach the alcohol content of sake, a great amount of sugar is necessary. 

How To Drink Sake 

With an alcohol content that is stronger than wine, but not as strong as hard liquor, sake can be a difficult drink to figure out. Specifically, many people wonder, how are you even supposed to drink sake? 

Traditionally, sake is consumed using small ceramic cups that look a little bit like shot glasses.

These are called ‘Ochoco’. If you go to a traditional sushi restaurant and order sake, it is likely that you will drink it this way.

However, in recent years, many individuals have become accustomed to drinking sake from a wine glass. Supposedly, this vessel can help enhance the aromas and the flavor of the sake.

Although, we recommend being careful, as it is easy to drink too much sake!  

Another thing to consider is the temperature of the sake. Traditionally, sake is served warm (see also ‘How To Heat Sake‘). However, it is also very delicious chilled, or at room temperature.

Generally, less expensive sake is warmed before drinking, and more expensive sake is served chilled (see also ‘Do You Drink Sake Warm Or Cold?‘). 

How Do You Make Sake Taste Better? 

What Percent Alcohol Is Sake 

If you’re not a big fan of straight sake, that is ok! There are still many different ways that you can consume the traditional drink.

Here are a few of my favorite sake cocktails that will satisfy sake newbies and sake aficionados alike!

1. Ginger Ale and Sake

This drink is so simple that I’m not sure it’s legal to call it a cocktail. However, it sure is delicious! The ginger beer and lemon slices work with the flavor of the sake to produce a wonderfully refreshing beverage. 

2. Tropical Juice and Sake

This one is a great option for those who are really not sold on the flavor of sake. If you don’t have tropical juice, mango works very well too! 

3. Lemon Juice and Sake

If you like the taste of sake, but feel like it’s just a little bit much, this combination is perfect. The fresh lemon juice makes it very clean and easy to drink.

Simply squeeze one slice of lemon above your glass of sake. Add more if necessary. 

Is Sake A Healthy Alcohol? 

As long as it’s not consumed to excess, yes! Here are three ways in which sake helps to improve your health. 

1. It Boosts The Immune System

Sake is made from completely natural ingredients. It also contains significantly more amino acids than other alcoholic beverages, such as wine. These amino acids make the drink delicious and more healthy! 

2. It Helps With High Blood Pressure

Peptides are great for our body. They burn fat, help build muscle and aid in lowering high blood pressure. Sake has 9 different peptides within it.

However, if too much sake is consumed, these peptides can have a negative effect on high blood pressure. 

3. It Helps With Moisturization

Believe it or not, sake has been proven to help with dry skin. In particular, if you add sake to your bath, it will likely leave you more moisturized and hydrated than you would have if you hadn’t added sake to your bath. 

Does Sake Get You Really Drunk? 

Sake is a wonderful beverage that has a rich history and is truly delightful to drink.

However, as with all things, it is necessary to consume sake in moderation. It does have a high alcohol content, so it is necessary to proceed with caution. If you don’t, you will likely end up feeling very inebriated. 


Sake is one of my favorite alcoholic beverages. It is refreshing, unique, and truly a delight when consumed alongside Japanese appetizers. We hope that this article has inspired you to give sake a try!

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