If you’re looking for a satisfying & unique way to enjoy Japan’s most popular spirit, tempt your tastebuds with some of the best nigori sake.
Nigori sake (nigori-zake) is a variety of sake that’s unfiltered. Unlike many other top-rated sakes, nigori is cloudy in appearance, rather than clear, thanks to fine unfermented rice particles remaining from brewing process.
In general, nigori tends to be sweeter than other main sake varieties. (With the exception of flavored sake, of course!)
Besides the dash of sweetness, you’ll experience a distinctively creamier texture while drinking nigori-zake than with most ginjo or daiginjo sakes.
Not sure where to start? Check out these top-rated nigori sakes…
Top nigori sake recommendations
Tozai Snow Maiden
One of the best introductions to nigori, Tozai Snow Maiden is a favorite among everyday sake drinkers and critics alike.
While sipping this top-rated nigori sake, you’ll immediately fall in love with a full-bodied, creamy texture that’s perfectly aligned with its wintry name.
The “snowy” mouthfeel expands to fruity, rice-like aromatics and pear and melon overtones with a slightly nutty finish.
Tozai Snow Maiden is surprisingly dry for a nigori. It pairs well with meats and seafood, bringing out subtle spicy and savory flavors.
A delightful pink bottle hints at the spring-like playfulness of Hakutsuru Sayuri, one of the top-rated nigori sakes.
Slight floral and strawberry notes punctuate the aromatics in this lighter-than-normal nigori-zake. As you savor each creamy sip, you’ll love the smooth fruity and cherry blossom notes that strike you tongue.
Thanks to its combination of subtle sweetness and mild acidity, Hakutsuru Sayuri is a great match for dessert and spicy fish and meat dishes.
The award-winning Yaegaki Nigori is a great choice for beginners to the world of nigori-zake.
It’s neither too sweet nor too rich, striking a perfect balance while charming sippers with its light-to-medium mouthfeel.
Within its mildly creamy texture, you’ll uncover tones of melon and mango with faint hints of pineapple.
The crafty Yaegaki Nigori pairs superbly with bold & spicy foods as well as desserts.
Rihaku Dreamy Clouds
One of the only nigori sakes to qualify as a junmai ginjo, Rihaku Dreamy Clouds is just as fanciful as its quixotic name implies.
This light-bodied and dry nigori uses a rice grain polished to 59% of its original size, a feat that’s uncommon among unfiltered sakes.
Rihaku Dreamy Clouds brings forth a notable complexity and brightness often missing in nigori sake. It flaunts whispers of plum, roasted nuts, and a splash of yuzu, a tangy Asian citrus fruit.
Paired with spicy & salty fish and seafood, this high-quality nigori truly shines.
A brighter-than-average sweetness pervades every drop of Kurosawa Nigori. Brewed in the alpine Nagano Prefecture, this creamy nigori-zake delivers fruity aromatics reminding of green apple and nectarines.
As you sip this junmai nigori, you’ll grasp a dash of melon infused with cucumber.
The medium body of Kurosawa Nigori makes it the perfect companion for spicy shrimp, scallop or squid dishes or BBQ’ed meat.
Dassai 45 Nigori
Hitting a high note as the only junmai daiginjo in this list, Dassai 45 Nigori strikes a masterful balance.
It’s neither too creamy nor too dry and offers less sweetness than most others in its category, sprung forth by the drink’s mild acidity.
The aromatics unleash a flurry of juicy fruitiness with traces of cantaloupe, peach, plum and apple taking centre stage in both the nose and the tasting.
Although it’s only mildly sweet and light-bodied, Dassai 45 Nigori slots in as a fantastic aperitif paired with dessert.
Momokawa Organic Ginjo Nigori
If organic sake is your jam, Momokawa Organic Ginjo Nigori is the best-of-the-best in the unfiltered category.
This award-winning American sake blends the smoothness of a ginjo with the creaminess of a top-notch nigori. The flavor profile reveals a coconut and pineapple fusion with slight hints of banana at the tip.
Thanks to its above-average acidity, Momokawa Organic Ginjo Nigori pairs well with spicy noodle soups, savory meat & seafood plates, and tropical fruit.
Shichi Hon Yari Nigori
Qualifying a high-quality junmai ginjo with its 60% rice polishing ratio, Shichi Hon Yari Nigori matches the creaminess of unfiltered sake with a bright plunge of tropical fruits like mango, pineapple, and coconut.
This small-batch craft sake is brewed in Shiga Prefecture with two local rice varieties (Tamazakae and Ginfubuki).
It features both a moderate sweetness and acidity, making it the perfect pairing for everything from rich & spicy meat dishes to dessert.