A refreshing cocktail goes perfectly with warm, breezy summer afternoons on the patio. Tequila, vodka and rum are the familiar cast of spirits that preside over citrus and tropical fruits, mint leaves and lesser liqueurs, awaiting the whir of the blender. This notable rice-based alternative may be more commonly presented with seaweed than strawberries, but the secret is out: sake is an excellent choice for mixed drinks.

Let go of the notion that sake is inextricably linked to sushi and served in ceramic cups. The bright, smooth taste of Hiro sake can complement a wide variety of flavors and foods and is enjoyable chilled, on the rocks, or warm. For those who seek a ‘light’ cocktail, Hiro sake adds a delicate and delicious finish to drinks in place of vodka, rum, or gin and counts only 39 calories per ounce. In addition to being gluten-free and allergen-free, it’s made without sulfites and contains just a third of the acidity of most wines.

Hand-crafted at the Brewery Taiyo Shuzo in Japan’s famed Niigata prefecture, Hiro sake is an homage to the ancient beverages of samurai Hiroemon Takeda, who mastered the art of brewing sake nearly two hundred years ago. Far from being old-fashioned, both sake offerings from this artisanal producer are made for the modern drinking experience. Hiro Red, a Junmai style, presents a clean and subtle earthy character with a finish that hints of apple. Its Hiro Blue counterpart, a Junmai Ginjo sake, is made by polishing away the outer layers of the rice grains until only small “pearls” remain. The resulting purity is evident in each sip, where notes of melon give way to zest and faint citrus.

Try these delicious cocktails for an easy-drinking experience and visit Hiro’s website for more sake-centric concoctions.

White Hiro Cocktail Drink Me

– 2 parts HIRO RED Junmai Sake
– 1 part prosecco
– 2 parts pineapple puree

– 2 parts HIRO RED Junmai Sake
– 2 parts Dry White Wine
– Fill with strained Lemon / Lime Juice Mix
– Apple Slices
– Ice
– Garnish with apple slice

Price: Hiro Red (720ml) $29.99, (330ml) $15.99; Hiro Blue (720ml) $39.99, (330ml) $19.99.
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