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As warmer weather approaches, try trading hard liquor for light, low-calorie sake in cocktails.
It’s two weeks until the unofficial start of summer, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to reach for that margarita glass. Instead of following tradition and going for the sweet–and caloric–favorite, get creative and try stirring sake into your cocktails instead. The traditional Japanese alcohol is not only loaded with health benefits but very versatile. Sip it straight from a wine glass or mix it into cocktails for a low-calorie base that works perfectly with spring and summer flavors.
“I like the idea that sake, just by using it as the base of a cocktail, makes for a lighter experience,” says Michael Cecconi, who creates cocktails for Two Sisters Bar & Books in San Francisco and teaches classes. Cecconi custom-designed two sake cocktails that’ll make you forget all about Margaritaville.
Sake Cocktail Recipes
1. Coco Martinez
This fun variation of a venerable classic is great as a first sip after a long day. Plus, swapping the traditional gin for sake saves as many as 90 calories. Cecconi simplified the recipe to make it easy for an aspiring at-home bartender.
3 oz TY KU Coconut Sake
3/4 oz sweet vermouth
1/2 oz maraschino
3 dashes Angostura bitters
Combine with ice, shake, and strain into tall glass. Add fresh ice, garnish with lemon twist.
2. Sake Mate
This blend adds a little caffeine boost to your cocktail experience. Herbal mate tea, which is popular in South America, compliments and enhances the sake by adding a tannic edge. Cecconi says he’d typically make this drink with the South American distilled spirit cachaça, which is made from sugarcane. Substituting in sake saves about 75 calories. “In pairing it with sake we hew to the middle path, wrapping up the yin and the yang with honey and lime—delicious,” Cecconi says.
3 oz mate-infused TY KU Sake Silver (see below)
1 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz honey simple syrup (see below)
Combine with ice, shake, and strain into tall glass. Add fresh ice, garnish with lime wedge.
2 cups TY KU Sake Silver
1 mate tea bag
Combine ingredients and let sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours and no more than 4 hours.
Honey Simple Syrup
1 pint honey
1 cup hot water
Combine and stir to make a loose honey syrup.