Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association | JSS

Professional Why Salad Pairs Well
with Sake

Alcoholic drinks such as wine and sake match well with a variety of dishes. However, many people find it difficult to pair wine and dishes with acidity and bitterness like salads. On the contrary, sake pairs well with salads. The main reason why this pairing of sake works well is due to sake generally being less acidic than wine and free of tannins.

Sake Pairs Well with Acid Dishes

Sake often pairs well with dishes that feature sour flavors as sake itself contains little acidity. As shown in the table below, sake contains less acidic components when compared to white wine (Up to 10 times). In addition, the subtle sweetness in sake can soften the sourness in some dishes, instead of enhancing it. This is also apparent with pickles being a popular accompaniment to sake in Japan. Therefore, sake goes well with vinaigrette as well.

The Acidity of Sake and Wine

Sake White Wine
Titratable Acidity

0.1 ~ 0.2

0.5 ~ 0.9


4.2 ~ 4.9

3.0 ~ 4.1

Succinic Acid(mg/l)

200 ~ 500

500 ~ 1500

Malic Acid(mg/l)

100 ~ 400

250 ~ 5000

Tartaric Acid(mg/l)


1500 ~ 4000

Sake Pairs Well with Bitterness

Another reason why sake is a good accompaniment to salads is the lack of tannins. Tannins tend to clash with the bitterness and astringency found in some raw vegetables like arugula. Due to the lack of tannins, any bitterness in food is not experienced as harshly. In addition, the umami and sweetness in sake perfectly balances out any acidic notes.

Layering the Aroma

Ginjo and daiginjo often feature a refined fruity aroma. This fruity fragrance layers well with the flavor of vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and avocados. Also, the fruitiness of sake usually matches well with citrus in salad or dressings.

Case Study

Pairing with Vinaigrette


The fruity aroma of sake is accentuated. The acidity of the vinaigrette softens, emphasizing the sweetness, umami, and bitterness of the sake.

Light Junmai

The sake balances out the acidity of the vinaigrette. The smoothness of the vinaigrette and the flavor and acidity of the sake harmonize well.

Full-bodied Junmai

The acidity and smoothness of the vinaigrette match well with the flavor and acidity of the sake. The sake emphasizes the flavor of the vinaigrette.

Aged Sake

The pleasant aroma of aged sake becomes vibrant. The flavor, acidity, and the umami of the vinaigrette and sake all stand out.

Advanced Food Pairings

Professional Guide


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