Satisfy Your Sushi Cravings: What to Drink with Your Rolls

Sushi is a beloved and iconic dish that has taken the world by storm. From its humble origins in Japan to its international popularity, sushi has become a staple in many people’s diets. But one question that often stumps sushi lovers is: what should be paired with this delectable cuisine? What drinks can bring out the flavors and enhance the dining experience? Whether you are a sushi connoisseur or new to this flavorful delicacy, finding the perfect beverage pairing can elevate your sushi dining experience to new heights. In this article, we will explore the various drink options that complement sushi and how they enhance its exquisite taste. So grab your chopsticks and read on to discover what to drink with sushi.

The Art of Pairing Sushi with Beverages

When it comes to sushi, choosing the right beverage to go with it can greatly enhance the dining experience. Just like the delicate art of sushi making, pairing sushi with beverages requires a certain level of expertise. Different types of sushi call for different types of drinks, and understanding the nuances of flavors is key to achieving a perfectly balanced meal.

In this article, we will delve into the world of sushi and beverages, exploring different types of pairings and providing tips on how to make the most out of your dining experience.

Understanding Sushi – A Brief Guide

Sushi is a traditional Japanese dish made from vinegared rice combined with other ingredients such as seafood, vegetables, and sometimes even fruits. It has gained immense popularity worldwide and has evolved into various forms since its origins in Japan.

While sushi is often associated with raw fish, there are actually several types that do not contain raw seafood at all. These include vegetarian options like cucumber rolls or egg omelette (tamago) rolls. Sushi can also be served with toppings such as seared beef or cooked shrimp.

Each type of sushi has its own unique flavor profile that is influenced by the ingredients used. This makes it essential to choose the right beverage that complements and brings out the best in each type.

The Role of Umami in Sushi Pairings

Umami is known as the fifth basic taste alongside sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. It is often described as a savory taste that enhances overall flavor in foods. Umami plays a crucial role when it comes to pairing sushi with beverages as it is present in both fish and alcohol.

Since umami makes flavors more pronounced, pairing a dish with an umami-rich beverage can balance out any strong flavors or textures. For example, white wine or sake, both of which are high in umami, can complement the delicate flavors in sushi.

Pairing Sushi with Beer

Beer is one of the most popular beverages to pair with sushi. Its carbonation helps cut through the fatty texture of the fish and cleanses the palate between bites. The malty and slightly bitter flavor also pairs well with soy sauce, which is commonly used in sushi.

When it comes to choosing a specific type of beer, Japanese lagers or pilsners are the go-to options for sushi. These light and crisp beers have a clean finish that doesn’t overpower the delicate flavors of sushi. If you prefer a more robust flavor, consider pairing spicy rolls with an India Pale Ale (IPA) to balance out the heat.

Wine Pairings for Sushi

Contrary to popular belief, sushi can be paired with wine if done correctly. However, it is important to choose wines that have low tannin levels as tannins can clash with the dish’s delicate flavors.

For white wine lovers, Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio pair well with lighter fish like tuna or salmon. For those who prefer red wine, a light-bodied Pinot Noir or Beaujolais is a good option as they have lower tannins compared to other red varieties.

If you are looking for a more adventurous pairing, try sparkling wine or champagne with your sushi. The effervescence and acidity in these beverages not only cleanse the palate but also enhance umami flavors in both fish and rice.

Sake – A Classic Choice

Sake is a fermented rice beverage that has been traditionally paired with sushi for centuries in Japan. This drink has gained popularity worldwide due to its versatility and ability to complement various types of sushi.

The key factor when it comes to sake pairing is finding balance between the sake’s sweetness and the dish’s saltiness. For example, a creamy and rich sake will pair well with fatty fish like salmon or eel, while a drier sake is better suited for lighter dishes like sashimi or vegetable rolls.

For an elevated experience, consider trying different types of sakes, such as sparkling or cloudy. These variations have unique flavors and textures that can enhance the overall dining experience.

Non-Alcoholic Options

For those who do not consume alcohol, there are several non-alcoholic beverage options that pair well with sushi. Green tea is a traditional accompaniment for sushi as it has cleansing properties and complements the dish’s umami flavors.

Other options include ginger ale, iced tea, or even fruit juice. These beverages have a slight sweetness and acidity that help balance out any salty components in sushi.

In conclusion, pairing sushi with the right beverage is an art form that requires attention to detail and understanding of flavors. By considering factors such as umami levels and balancing out tastes, you can create a harmonious dining experience that enhances the flavors of both the food and drink.

With this guide in hand, you can confidently experiment with different types of sushi and beverages to

The Best Pairings for Sushi

Sushi is known for its delicate flavors and fresh ingredients, making it a popular choice for many people. However, when it comes to choosing a drink to accompany sushi, many may be unsure of what to choose. The right drink can elevate the flavors of the sushi and enhance the overall dining experience. In this section, we will explore some of the best pairings for sushi.


Sake is a traditional Japanese rice wine that has been around for centuries. It is made by fermenting rice with water and yeast and is often served alongside sushi. The clean, subtle flavors of sake complement the delicate flavors of sushi perfectly. Sake also has a slightly acidic quality that helps to cleanse the palate between bites and prepares your taste buds for the next bite.

Green Tea

Green tea is another popular pairing with sushi, especially in Japan. The light, refreshing taste of green tea pairs well with sushi, and it also has health benefits that make it a perfect choice. Green tea contains antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation and boost your immune system. It can also help aid in digestion, making it an ideal choice when eating large amounts of sushi.

White Wine

If you prefer wine over other alcoholic beverages, white wine is an excellent pairing for sushi. White wines such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc have crisp acidity and fruity notes that complement the mild flavors of seafood in sushi. When choosing a white wine to pair with your sushi, try to avoid oaky or buttery varieties as they may overpower or clash with the delicate flavors of the sushi.


Believe it or not, beer can also be a great drink to pair with sushi! Pilsners and lagers are light-bodied beers that have a crisp, clean taste, making them an excellent accompaniment to sushi. The carbonation in beer helps to cleanse the palate between bites, and the malt flavors can complement the rice and seaweed in sushi.

Cucumber and Citrus-Infused Water

For those looking for a non-alcoholic option, cucumber and citrus-infused water is a refreshing and cleansing choice to pair with sushi. The cucumber’s crispness can enhance the delicate flavors of sushi, while the citrus provides a hint of acidity that complements the seafood. You can easily make your infused water at home by adding sliced cucumbers and citrus fruits to chilled water.

Choosing the Right Drink for Sushi: Considerations

When choosing a drink to pair with sushi, several factors should be considered. The type of fish used in the sushi roll, the preparation method of the fish, and even the seasonings used all play a significant role in determining the best drink pairing.

One essential factor to consider is the texture of the fish. For example, if you are eating fatty tuna or salmon sushi, you may want to choose a drink with higher acidity to cut through and balance out the richness. On the other hand, if you are eating lighter fish such as snapper or sea bream, you may want to pair it with a drink that has a milder flavor profile.

The preparation method of the fish is also crucial when choosing a drink pairing. If your sushi has been lightly seared or grilled, it may benefit from being paired with sake as it can bring out those smoky flavors. On the other hand, if your sushi has been marinated or seasoned heavily with spices or sauces, it may pair better with white wine instead.

Another factor to consider is personal preference. While traditional Japanese drinks such as sake and green tea are commonly paired with sushi, don’t be afraid to experiment and find your perfect drink pairing. Some people may prefer a sweeter drink like Riesling, while others may prefer a drier option like Chardonnay or even a crisp cider.

Tips for Pairing Drinks with Sushi

Here are some tips to keep in mind when pairing drinks with sushi:

– Try to match the intensity of the drink with the intensity of the sushi. Lighter drinks such as sake or green tea pair well with delicate sushi, while bold-flavored sushi can be paired with more robust drinks such as red wine.
– Pay attention to the texture of both the fish and drink. A smooth, creamy texture in sushi may pair well with a smooth, full-bodied drink like a chardonnay. In contrast, a light and delicate sushi roll may pair better with a lighter-bodied drink like sake.
– Experiment and try different pairings! While traditional pairings are well-known and commonly used, don’t be afraid to step out of the box and see what other combinations you enjoy.
– Drink water between bites to cleanse your palate and prepare it for the next bite.
– Trust your taste buds. Ultimately, everyone’s palate is different, so go with what tastes good to you.


Q: What is the best beverage to pair with sushi?
A: Traditional Japanese green tea, or matcha, is considered the ideal pairing for sushi because of its earthy and slightly bitter taste that balances well with the delicate flavors of sushi.

Q: Can I drink wine or sake with sushi?
A: While wines can be paired with certain types of sushi, sake is still the preferred alcoholic beverage to pair with most sushi as it has a lighter and more subtle flavor compared to other types of alcohol.

Q: Are there any other non-alcoholic options for pairing with sushi?
A: Apart from green tea, other non-alcoholic options that go well with sushi are light and refreshing drinks such as Japanese soda, kombucha, or even coconut water.

Q: Is it appropriate to drink beer with sushi?
A: Beer can be paired with certain types of sushi such as fried rolls or tempura dishes. However, it is generally not recommended to pair beer with raw fish-based sushi as it may overpower the delicate flavors.

Q: How do I know which drink will pair well with my choice of sushi?
A: As a general rule, lighter-flavored drinks such as green tea or sake go better with lighter and delicate types of sushi like sashimi. Bolder flavored drinks like red wine can be paired well with heavier and saucier rolls.

Q: Can I mix different beverages while eating sushi?
A: It is not recommended to mix different beverages while eating sushi as it may disrupt the taste palate. Stick to one type of beverage throughout your meal for a more enjoyable dining experience.

In conclusion, choosing the right drink to accompany sushi plays a crucial role in enhancing the dining experience. While there are traditional pairings like green tea and sake, the wide variety of flavors and textures in sushi allow for endless possibilities when it comes to drink choices. Some key considerations for selecting a drink to go with sushi include the type of fish, the intensity of flavors, and personal preferences. Wine, beer, sake, and even non-alcoholic options like virgin mojitos or iced green tea can all provide unique and enjoyable pairings with sushi. Moreover, experimenting with different combinations can lead to unexpected but delightful flavor profiles. Ultimately, the perfect drink to accompany sushi is one that complements and balances out the flavors while also enhancing the overall dining experience. With these factors in mind, one can confidently sip on their chosen beverage while indulging in a delectable plate of sushi. So next time you order sushi, don’t forget to consider what you’ll be drinking alongside it – because as we’ve seen, the right pairing can truly elevate your culinary experience.

Author Profile

Erick Benitez
Erick Benitez
In 2003, the Coast Sushi Bar was founded, quickly becoming a beloved fixture in its trendy neighborhood, appreciated for its exceptional sushi and vibrant BYOB atmosphere.

The chefs at Coast have developed a mastery in blending subtle yet intricate flavors, establishing a reputation for pioneering innovative New-Japanese cuisine with only the finest global ingredients.

Building on decades of culinary success, the founder launched a new endeavor in 2024—a blog focused on Japanese snacks. This blog marks a significant shift from restaurateur to food blogger, motivated by a desire to share comprehensive insights into Japanese culinary arts and snack culture. The content covers traditional snacks, the evolution of snack culture in Japan, and the global influence and adaptation of these snacks.

Each blog post reflects the founder's commitment to quality and attention to detail, mirroring the standards of Coast Sushi Bar.

Aimed at both aficionados and novices of Japanese cuisine, the blog serves as a resource for deepening readers’ knowledge and appreciation of Japan's rich and diverse food culture.