Sake refers to rice wine in English. It is naturally sweetened by fruit and can be served warm or chilled to taste for added flavor. Sit back, take a swig, and cheers to restoring glory to Japan. Kampai!
Japanese anime clouting the ceiling, this “izakaya” is a type of Japanese drinking establishment, which also serves food to soak up the alcohol. The acclaimed Sommelier comes from L2O and if you’re adventurous will recommend the shochu (basically Japanese vodka served warm).
3056 N. Lincoln Ave. 773.697.4725. http://www.chizakaya.com/
2 SUSHISAMBA rio
Offering weekly Sushi & Sake 101 classes; the restaurant’s signature sushi and sake tastings are led by Sake Sommelier Hayes Swope. The unique experience will allow guests the opportunity to sample a variety of SUSHISAMBA’s 60 plus sake offerings paired with delectable bites by Chef Dan Tucker. The eventful evening concludes with a guided “do-it-yourself,” lesson led by Sushi Chef Shigeru Kitano, who will demonstrate a step-by-step tutorial for making sushi at home. Catch the class next class April 12.
504 N.Wells St. 312.595.2300. http://www.sushisamba.com/
3 Mana Food Bar
This vegetarian dining spot from the creators of Sushi Wabi created a cocktail list focused on sake-tinis. Between the coconut water and fresh lime, pineapple and fresh ginger, and cucumber sakerita, we’re happy campers.
1742 W. Division St. 773.342.1742. http://www.manafoodbar.com/
4 Sushi Mura
One of the only legitimate establishments in the city that encourages “Sake Bombing,” the head chef and staff will usually come join in the fun with you. They also provides each guest a custom sake box, a gift from the owner to decorate and drink sake out of and store the signature sake boxes for each time you come in. Now that’s customer service.
3647 N. Southport Ave. 773.281.9155. www.sushimura.com
5 Mitsuwa Marketplace
Though a hike out in the ‘burbs, Mitsuwa is the largest Japanese grocery store in the entire Midwest and probably has the best selection of specialty sakes under the sun. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped right off the tarmac into Tokyo duty-free.
100 E. Algonquin Rd. Arlington Heights, IL 60005. 847.956.6699. http://www.mitsuwa.com/english/