A Mini Guide to Ozeki and Sake

A Mini Guide to Ozeki and Sake


Ozeki Sake was founded in 1711 by Ozakaya Chobei in the Nada district of Hyogo prefecture. In 1979, Ozeki became the first Japanese producer to establish a presence in the USA. This is because Hollister, California was found to have both the finest locally grown rice and easy access to the clear water from the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Northern California.

The 'One Cup Ozeki' was first launched in 1964, coinciding with the Tokyo Olympics. It is also the first mega-hit cup sake that changed the industry. The success of 'One Cup Ozeki' led to the first alcoholic-vending machine made just for this sake and the establishment of the first advanced sake manufacturer in Hollister, California, USA, as mentioned above.

In 2014, Ozeki celebrated 50 years of Ozeki One Cup sake excellence and had a whopping amount of 4 billion cups sold over the globe. Ozeki's sake breweries in Hyogo, Kyoto, and Niigata became the top 3 areas covering more than 50% share of the total shipping record in 2017.

Sake Tank

Did You Know?

Understanding what sakes are and how to drink them can be straightforward, but do you recognise these machines? These are actually sake tanks! Have you also ever wondered how sakes are made? Well, we got you covered today.

What Goes On Inside the Sake Tank?

Before explaining the sake-making process, it is crucial to know how rice turns into sake with the help of Koji Mold and Yeast. Koji Mold is added to the rice solution as starch is too big to be fermented by Yeast itself. The Koji Mold helps to break down the starch in rice into smaller particles called glucose, which can now be fermented by Shubo, the Yeast starter. The chemical reaction by Koji and Yeast has very important roles in sake-making.

So what is happening inside the sake tank? If you put all the ingredients at once, bacteria can easily contaminate the sake mash and the activity of yeast will be very low. To prevent this from happening, a 3-step preparation is conducted, as seen above. It takes about 15 to 20 days to complete fermentation at the temperature of 15 degrees Celsius for normal sakes, and up to 30 days at 10 degree Celsius for Ginjyos.

Fun Fact: 3 tons of rice is needed to fill one tank and 6,500 bottles of 1.8L (11,700L) sake can be made out of one tank!

Storing Sakes

We are sure that most of you have purchased sake before. But how exactly do you maintain the quality of your sake at home? We are here to provide you with the three most important factors for preserving your sake.

Store Your Sake in a Dark Place

Sake easily changes colour and loses its flavour because of light. Do keep your sake out of direct sunlight as well as room light such as a fluorescent light.

Store Your Sake in a Cool Place

Sake is extremely sensitive to heat. Sake that is put in a high-temperature condition changes colour and loses its flavour as well. Hence, it is important to store it at a cool temperature.  

Quick Consumption

Once opened, the chemical reaction of sugars and amino acids in sake and oxygen causes sake to lose its quality rapidly. Thus, it is best to enjoy sake fresh!

With these factors applied, always remember to keep your sake in a dark and cool environment and savour them immediately!

Ozeki's Favourites

After sharing the history of Ozeki Sake and a brief guide to sake-making and storing sakes, we are happy to share some favourite sake cocktail recipes from Ozeki Sake.

Ginger & Lemon

This Ginger & Lemon cocktail is ideal for people who fancy sour/refreshing cocktails. Ozeki Karatamba is a dry and refreshing sake. With the use of grated ginger juice and lemon juice, this cocktail brings a refreshing finish and a hint of spice, making it just the perfect cocktail to pair with meat and seafood.

Sparkling Flower Cocktail (Peach)

This Sparkling Flower Cocktail (Peach) is ideal for people who have a sweet tooth. The Ozeki Hana-Awaka Peach is not only sweet but bubbly and refreshing. Mixed with peach nectar and grenadine syrup, this cocktail is good to go with aperitifs and desserts!

Product Highlights

Ozeki Rai Junmai Sake

Ozeki Rai Junmai Sake (大関 ライ 純米酒) has a pleasant taste which consists of subtle hints of caramel. Aperitifs and Sashimi go well with this sake!

Product Details:

  • Rice Polishing Ratio: 60%
  • SMV: +2
  • Alcohol: 15-16%
  • Recommended Temperature: Best enjoyed chilled or warm

Try it: Ozeki Rai Junmai Sake

Ozeki Ginkan/Kinkan

Ozeki Ginkan, also known as Ozeki Silver Sake, (大関 銀冠 清酒) is well-balanced and smooth, with slightly lower alcohol content and acidity compared to its ‘Gold’ counterpart. Ozeki Kinkan, also known as Ozeki Gold Sake (大関 金冠 清酒) on the other hand, is a balance of sweet and dry. Both the silver and gold can be served cool to warm and are extremely versatile sakes that pair well with any type of cuisine.

Product Details:

  • SMV: +1
  • Alcohol: 15-16%
  • Recommended Temperature: Chilled/Warm/Hot

Try it: Ozeki Ginkan (Silver) | Ozeki Kinkan (Gold)

Ozeki Osakaya Chobei Daiginjyo Sake

Ozeki Osakaya Chobei Daiginjyo Sake (大関 大阪屋 長兵衛 大吟醸) has a rich and fruity aroma and a delicate flavour. The sake is best served chilled and can be enjoyed with light food such as sashimi and steamed fish dishes.

Product Details:

  • Rice Polishing Ratio: 50%
  • SMV: +4
  • Alcohol: 15%
  • Recommended Temperature: Best enjoyed chilled

Try it: Ozeki Osakaya Chobei Daiginjyo Sake

Ozeki Soke Ozakaya Junmai Daiginjyo

Ozeki Soke Ozakaya Junmai Daiginjyo (大関 大坂屋 純米大吟醸) is a sake with aromas of pear, strawberry, and banana as well as the flavours of melon and peach. This sake pairs well with Sashimi and Seafood.

Product Details:

  • Rice Polishing Ratio: 50%
  • SMV: -3
  • Alcohol: 14%
  • Recommended Temperature: Best enjoyed chilled

Try it: Ozeki Soke Ozakaya Junmai Daiginjyo

Ozeki Lemon Sour No Moto Bottle

Ozeki Lemon Sour No Moto Bottle (我が家のレモンサワー(海外限定ボトル)) is made with 12% Sicilian lemon juice with no artificial sweeteners used to bring out the flavor of the juice! This liqueur can be enjoyed by itself or with water and sodas. We will be going into details for this liqueur so do follow us to keep a look out for our upcoming Ozeki Lemon Sour article!

Product Details:

  • Alcohol: 24%
  • Recommended Temperature: Best enjoyed chilled

Try it: Ozeki Lemon Sour No Moto Bottle


Ozeki Sake has come a long way and has shown its success with the 'One Cup Ozeki' as well as its shipping record. Makoto-Ya is delighted to be the exclusive importer and distributor of Ozeki Sake for over 20 years as of today. Even then, Ozeki Sake never fails to produce high-quality sake and continues to show us how versatile its sake can be. Together, we believe that we are able to spread the love for Ozeki and its sake.

Feel free to reach out to us for more inquiries regarding Ozeki! In the meantime, which sake piqued your interest the most? If unsure, do visit our website to discover and start on your sake journey~

Do also check out other guides if you haven't! 🍶

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.