5 to Try: Nigori Saké

“Nigori literally means ‘cloudy,’ ” says Kate Koo, the owner of Portland, Oregon’s Zilla Sake, referring to the style of saké sometimes listed as “unfiltered” on menus. Pressed only through a coarse mesh, nigori has some rice solids left in suspension, which creates an opacity rich with aroma and flavor. “The flavor spectrum for nigori is huge,” says Koo—and with nuances ranging from sweet to dry and fruity to floral, it’s a match for all sorts of palates and plates.

Joto Nigori
Koo calls this saké from Nakao Brewery in Hiroshima “a great quintessential nigori—medium in both sweetness and thickness, with fresh, tropical flavors.” $11 for 300 ml, liquorama.net

Momokawa Organic Nigori
A great domestic version of the nigori style, this saké from Oregon’s SakéOne offers an approachable sweetness and rich, nutty flavor. $8 for 300 ml, sakeone.com

Shichi Hon Yari Junmai Ginjo Nigori
Brewed at the Tomita Brewery just outside Kyoto in Japan’s Shiga Prefecture, this nigori is Koo’s favorite. “It’s slightly dry, and I love the texture,” she says. “It’s a little bit grainy from the rice and isn’t quite as smooth as most nigorizake, and the flavor is more subtle but complex at the same time.” $54 for 720 ml, tippsysake.com

Dewatsuru Junmai Nigori
Crafted at the Akita Seishu brewery in Japan’s coastal Akita Prefecture, this nigori is perfect for anyone seeking the drier side of the saké meter, says Koo. $22 for 720 ml, liquorama.net

Shimizu-no-Mai Pure Snow
Also from Japan’s Akita Prefecture, this nigori from the Akita Shurui brewery is as dry as nigori comes. Koo says it’s a bit unusual, as thinner nigori are typically drier and thicker ones are often sweeter. “This one is medium-thick but still very dry,” she says. $10 for 300 ml, totalwine.com


Did you enjoy this article? Get more of the best of liquid culture when you sign up for a print or digital subscription to Imbibe Magazine. Click here for special savings!