Tip of Sake

Junmai (純米)

  junmai refers to pure rice (純米) (non-additive) sake. Additionally, the junmai classification means that the rice used has been polished to at least 70 percent. While it’s hard to over-generalize, junmai sake tends to have a rich full body with an intense, slightly acidic flavor.

This type of sake can be particularly nice when served warm or at room temperature

Honjozo (本醸造)

 Honjozo uses rice that has been polished to at least 70 percent (as with junmai). However, honjozo, by definition, contains a small amount of distilled brewers alcohol, which is added to smooth out the flavor and aroma of the sake. Honjozo sakes are often light and easy to drink and can be enjoyed both warm or chilled.

Ginjo (吟醸)

Ginjo is a premium sake that uses rice that has been polished to at least 60 percent. It is brewed using special yeast and fermentation techniques. 
The result is often a light, fruity, and complex flavor that is usually quite fragrant.

Junmai Ginjo (純米吟醸)

A junmai ginjo sake is a very particular type of sake. Junmai refers to a sake that is a pure rice wine, one that does not have any distilled alcohol added. Ginjo refers to the fact that at least 40% of the rice polished away during the brewing process. This process for a ginjo sake is done at lower temperatures, which takes longer, but produces a sake that is light and fragrant with greater complexity.

A junmai ginjo sake is considered a "super premium" sake, which represents less than 10% of all sake. Along with traditional foods paired with sake, such as sushi or Asian cuisine, a junmai ginko sake also marries well with roast turkey or even leg of lamb


Daiginjo is a very special brew, with the "dai" or "big" prefix here meaning very. However, in contrast to junmai daiginjo, it isn't "pure rice" meaning that while the sake rice has to be milled down to at least 50%, as with junmai ginjjo, distilled alcohol can be added.

Junmai Daiginjo(純米大吟醸)

Junmai Daiginjo is sake with rice polished at least 50% (50% remaining) and no distilled alcohol added. It is considered "ultra-Premium" sake


Futsushu is sometimes referred to as table sake. The rice has barely been polished (somewhere between 70 and 93 percent), and — while we’re definitely not qualified to be sake snobs — is the only stuff we would probably recommend staying away from. Surprisingly, you can get really good-quality sake for very reasonable prices, so unless you’re looking for a bad hangover (and not-so-special flavor), stay away from futsushu.