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This sake cocktail is a stunning way to use this Japanese rice liquor! Mix it up into a classic Southside with lemon, lime and mint.

Sake cocktail
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Got sake and want to make it into a cocktail? Here’s an interesting way to mix it up: this Sake Southside cocktail! Now, sake is traditionally drunk as shots in Japan. But it’s a fun ingredient to experiment with in mixed drinks. This one’s a fusion-style drink that unexpectedly uses the traditional Japanese rice liquor in a classic gin cocktail, the Southside. I must say: Alex and I enjoyed this spin even more than the original! Lemon, lime and fresh mint brighten the flavor of the sake, adding and intriguing complexity that makes you want to keep on sipping. Here’s what to know to make this drink!

What’s in this sake cocktail?

Sake is a Japanese fermented rice liquor, sometimes called rice wine. It can be served hot or cold, and it’s typically not mixed into cocktails. But if you have some on hand: why not give it a dry? Sake’s flavor is pretty neutral: it’s almost like a dry white vermouth. So while you could use it in a cocktail traditionally made with dry vermouth like a classic martini, we decided to go a little outside the box with this one. We wanted to pair it with lemon and lime to really make the flavors shine.

This sake cocktail is based on the classic Southside, a classic cocktail from the early 1900’s. It’s got lemon, lime and mint: kind of like a Mojito made with gin! One theory behind the name is that it may have been a favorite drink of Al Capone, whose gang ran in the South Side of Chicago. Whatever the case, it’s one of our favorite cocktail recipes the over 300 we’ve shared. What’s in this sake cocktail?

  • Fresh mint leaves
  • Sake
  • Lime juice
  • Lemon juice
  • Simple syrup

Use any type of sake you have on hand!

There are many types of sake that fit into about five major sake categories. The great thing about this sake cocktail? You can use any type you have around. We used Junmai Sake. Junmai means “pure rice,” so it means it’s not a fortified sake which has alcohol added. We will not pretend to be sake experts: head over to Sake 101 for more on types of sake and their differences.

Tips for how to muddle mint

This sake cocktail uses fresh mint, which means you’ll have to muddle it in the cocktail shaker before you make the drink. What’s muddling? Muddling is gently mashing fresh herbs or fruit before using them in a cocktail. This releases the essential oils of the mint or fruit juice so you can taste it in the drink. Here are a few tips on how to muddle the right way:

  • Do it right in the cocktail shaker. Place the mint leaves in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. If you don’t have one, you can use a large metal cup or bowl.
  • Gently mash the mint! Use a wooden cocktail muddler (or unfinished wooden spoon) to gently mash the mint a few times to release the juices. The key is using a light touch: don’t mash the mint to a pulp.

How to make this sake cocktail

This sake cocktail is very easy to make, once you’ve got your sake, mint and citrus. It’s a traditional shaken cocktail that you’ll put together in a cocktail shaker. Here’s what to do:

  • Muddle the mint. In a cocktail shaker, muddle the mint leaves (gently mash them) with the lime and simple syrup.
  • Shake. Place the remaining ingredients in the shaker, add ice, and shake.
  • Strain into a glass. Strain the drink into a stemmed cocktail glass. Garnish with mint and lime, if you’d like.

And that’s it: everything you need to know about this Sake Southside cocktail! Let us know what you think of this fusion drink in the comments below.

Sake cocktail: the Southside

When to serve this sake cocktail

The Sake Southside cocktail is refreshing and sweet tart, great for impressing guests or simply mixing up to use up the rest of a bottle of sake. It works as a:

  • Summer drink
  • Signature drink
  • Cocktail hour drink
  • Party drink
  • Happy hour drink
  • Dinner party drink
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Sake cocktail

Sake Cocktail: The Southside!

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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x


This sake cocktail is a stunning way to use this Japanese rice liquor! Mix it up into a classic Southside with lemon, lime and mint.


  • 6 mint leaves
  • 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) sake (we used junmai sake)
  • ½ ounce (1 tablespoon) lime juice
  • ½ ounce (1 tablespoon) lemon juice
  • ½ ounce (1 tablespoon) simple syrup
  • For the garnish: Lemon twist, mint leaves


  1. Add the mint leaves to a cocktail shaker and muddle them.
  2. Add the sake, lemon juice, lime juice and simple syrup to cocktail shaker. Fill it with ice and shake until cold.
  3. Strain the drink into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an additional mint leaf (smack it between your hands to release the oils) and a lemon twist.
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Shaken
  • Cuisine: Cocktails
  • Diet: Vegan

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Miles says:

    This looks really neat! Hoping to make it. But, a question. What does “top with bubbles” mean here? None of the ingredients appear to be bubbly. Should you add carbonated water at the end? Or more sake? Or something else?

    Thank you!

    1. Sonja Overhiser says:

      You are correct, that was a typo! Removed. Let us know if you try it!