Potent Potables: Single-Serve Sake Cups Come to Boston

Sake consumption in Boston is getting personal.

Beer and wine served in petite packages is nothing new: We’ve long enjoyed splits of Perrier Jouët, Miller High Life ponies, and, when the occasion calls for it, even a wine cooler or two. Now sake is getting in on the portable action: Over the past few years, single- serve cups of the rice-based beverage—popular in Japan since the brewing giant Ozeki debuted a 180-milliliter version for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics—have been trickling into the U.S. After first landing in New York and Los Angeles, the glass jars, with their peel-off metal lids and collectible designs, are finally available in Boston, via sashimi destination O Ya. According to general manager Alyssa DiPasquale, serving the drink in this format increases restaurant efficiency, since large bottles must be poured quickly to retain freshness. And despite the whimsical packaging and novel size, the sake inside is serious. “They put the most premium category of sake in cups—it’s not like the cup is casual,” she says. “It’s just personal.” Here, a breakdown—complete with DiPasquale’s tasting notes—of the four styles you can try at O Ya.

Photo by Dave Bradley

Photo by Dave Bradley

From left to right: 

Chiyomusubi Kitaro Jungin
Style: Junmai Ginjo
Price: $20
Tasting notes: Honeydew melon, with a dry finish

Price: Grand tasting only ($285)
Tasting notes: Creamy. clean, rice-forward flavor

Miyozakura Panda Cup
Style: Junmai Ginjo
Price: $13
Tasting notes: Light and smooth, with a dry finish

Chiyomusubi Oyaji Gokuraku
Style: Junmai Ginjo
Price: $20
Tasting notes: Grapefruit and strawberry, soft sweetness, mild acidity