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What to drink with sushi?

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Assembled with various raw fish served on cooked rice flavored with vinegar, sushi is great dinner to enjoy on a special evening with the right beverage. Other than sake, drink pairing with sushi can be intimidating.

Sushi is an art form that deserves pairings with the right beverages. 

What to drink with sushi? Traditionally, sushi is paired with Japanese whiskey, umeshu, beer, and sake. However, it also goes well with non-alcoholic drinks, wine, and various kinds of beer.

Ginger ale, or green tea are the perfect beverage for non-alcoholic drinkers. 

For wine connoisseur, Burgundy, Chablis, Champagne, Chardonnay, Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc are the best options. However, the wine pairing may vary depending on the sushi choices. 

When it comes to beer, typically lager is best beer selection, but ale, IPA, Pilsner, and Hefeweizen also work well with sushi.

Sushi can be enjoyed with beer, wine, cocktails and non-alcoholic pairings. This article will help you learn more about excellent drink pairings to serve with sushi.

What do the Japanese drink with sushi?

When selecting the right Japanese drink to pair with sushi, the secret is getting the perfect balance to enhance a meal and the flavor notes. Pairing sushi with Japanese drinks is about enhancing the dining experience and making it more memorable. 

Not all Japanese beverages are considered a good match for sushi. Below are a handful of Japanese drinks that pair well with sushi:

  • Whiskey: Sushi is a complex food with bold flavors. A bold drink such as whiskey best complements a difficult food like sushi. 
  • Umeshu: is a perfect Japanese liquor extracted from Ume plums soaked in sugar and alcohol. Umeshu can be enjoyed with water or ice, which is a common way of consuming it with sushi. 
  • Beer: When it comes to Japanese drinks, it is hard to go wrong with a pint of beer. Sushi offers a delicate flavor, thus avoiding the beers with overwhelming flavors like porters and stouts.
    Brooklyn Brewery’s Sorachi Ace is an excellent choice during a Friday Night.
  • Sake: Nothing is more popular than sake, especially with Dai Ginjo and Junmai Dai Ginjo, which makes a perfect match with sushi. The success of this pairing is dependent on the type of sushi enjoyed.

What to drink with sushi non-alcoholic?

Cocktail, wine, beer and alcoholic beverages are not the only options to drink with sushi. Whether it is served as cold or hot beverage, pair these non-alcoholic drinks that actually taste good with sushi and do not overpower the flavor:

  • green tea
  • oolong tea
  • sencha
  • genmaicha
  • matcha
  • ginger ale
  • iced tea
  • lemonade

What wine to drink with sushi?

Sushi pairs perfectly with both white and red wines, but be careful to avoid any high-alcohol or oaked wines.

For white wines, pair sushi with the woody notes of chardonnay, floral Rieslings or Sauvignon Blanc, or a perfect dry white wine like Chablis or Macon. 

For red wines, stay away from tannic reds, therefore a light pinot noir would be excellent. Select a neutral-tasting fish such as tuna and avoid the soy sauce sweetness with this wine.

Here are general wine selections that taste good with a variety of sushi:

  • Burgundy
  • Aged Chablis
  • Champagne
  • Chardonnay
  • Dry to off-dry Riesling
  • California Sauvignon Blanc

The individually handmade sushi is topped with different seafood and fish. Therefore, it is crucial to pair with the right tasting wine for maximum pleasure. 

  • Crab: Chenin Blanc
  • Eel: Amarone, off-dry Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Zinfandel
  • Mackerel: New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
  • Salmon: dry Chenin Blanc, Pinot Noir, dry Riesling
  • Scallops: Chenin Blanc
  • Sea Urchin: Vouvray
  • Squid: Muscadet
  • Sweet shrimp: Champagne
  • Tuna or Yellowtail: Champagne with ahi tuna, Chardonnay, sparkling wine, Zinfandel

Beer with sushi

Ice cold light beers are a great addition to pair with sushi. The lighter the beer, the more sushi flavors it complements. 

Good sushi and beer pairing enhances the overall umami. When it comes to selecting the right beer flavor, stay with rice or grain flavors. 

  • lager 
  • ale
  • summer ale
  • IPA
  • pilsner
  • hefeweizen

What drink flavor goes well with sushi

From wine to beer and non-alcoholic beverages, there are variety of drinks to pair with sushi. In addition, mixed cocktails, especially ones made with cucumber, sake, or vodka pair wonderfully with sushi.

Here are cocktail flavors that go well with sushi:

  • sushi + sherry + syrup + orange
  • sushi + vodka + clam juice + tomatillo + yuzu + hot sauce + wasabi
  • sushi + bourbon + shiso syrup + lime juice + soda
  • sushi + cachaça + shishito peppers + lime + sugar
  • sushi + cucumber + Japanese whiskey + soda water
What to eat with sushi

Drink with Sushi: Conclusion 

As far as the Japanese drinks go, there is nothing as popular as sake, Japanese whiskey, umeshu, or the right beer paired with sushi. 

Japanese rice lagers are the most common beer pairings for sushi. The additional bitterness and hops bring out the rich salty-sweet earthy flavors in the dishes. 

Pairing a delicious rice-based dish with a rice-based beverage makes the whole eating experience beautiful and memorable. 

As alternatives, ale, IPA, Pilsner, and Hefeweizen are great beers to serve with sushi.

Depending on the raw seafood or fish that is topped on the flavored rice, the wine pairing may vary. Generally speaking, sushi pairs well with white and red wine including Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Burgundy, and Chablis.

Any cocktail mixed with sake, flavored vodka, sparkling wine, or white wine is excellent sushi. 

For a drink without alcohol, consider pairing sushi with a glass of cold ginger ale or hot green tea. 

Rule of thumb in culinary experience is that the right drink and food pairing must be considered to get the most out of any meal, especially with a delicate masterpiece like sushi. 

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