Don't Waste It ~ How to Utilize Leftover Sake

Don't Waste It ~ How to Utilize Leftover Sake

Have you ever received sake as a gift even though you don’t drink alcohol that much? Or have you struggled to find a use for sake you couldn't finish at a party? We have good news for you - there are other ways to use sake than just as a beverage! Let’s take a look at how we can utilize leftover sake!

Various ways to use sake

It would be a shame to throw away leftover sake, but it can also be confusing not knowing how else we can make use of it.
No worries - here, we have three recommendations for you!

  1. Cooking
  2. Bathing
  3. Lotion

1. Cooking with Sake

In Japan, there is a special sake for cooking called "Cooking Sake", which is one of the seasonings frequently used in daily menus.
You might have guessed it - "sake" and "Japanese cuisine" compliment each other well!

Using sake for cooking gives the following merits:

  • The organic acids in sake: eliminates the smell of the ingredients
  • Alcohol component: soaks up the flavors easier, and softens the ingredients
  • Amino acid: adds richness and Umami flavor

There can be a variety of dishes using sake, but we have carefully selected a few that can be easily prepared even by first-time cooks.


As we all know, curry is a popular cuisine all around the world!
Curry with sake is a very easy dish! Just add sake to the usual process of making curry. Just the mere addition of sake turns the curry sauce even tastier. Even if it is a freshly made curry, it will give out the richness of curry as if it has been left overnight. Make sure to cook the mixed sauce thoroughly to remove the alcohol.


Sake can be added instead of water or milk to make bread, making the bread soft and fluffy. While baking, you can smell the sake along with the steam, but after baking, only a faint aroma will be left behind - you may not even notice the presence of alcohol. Just change the amount of water (milk or water) used when kneading the dough to sake.

White rice

When cooking rice, add 2 tablespoons (30ml) of sake to the rice to make it glossy and extra tasty:.

450g (3 cups) rice
600ml water
30ml sake

Finally, here is a very popular and easy recipe that is also a staple on izakaya menus.

Asari Sakamushi (Steamed clams with sake)

A simple dish consisting of two types of clams, such as asari and hamaguri, and sake.
The umami of the clams is so delicious, it definitely turns the soup itself into a dish of its own!.

300g bivalves (asari or hamaguri)
80ml sake
Pinch of salt

Place all ingredients 1-3 in a covered pan over medium heat.
Cover and steam for 2-3 minutes until the sake boils and all the clams are fully opened.
Finally, garnish with some yuzu peel or other garnish to add a little more aroma and stimulate the senses and appetite!

In addition to all the above, sake generally goes well with basic Japanese dishes, such as fish stews and braised dishes.

2. Sake for Your Bath time

It might not be such a well-known fact, but in Japan, it is actually common to use sake - in your bath!
Recently, even sake bath bombs are available to buy in stores. Sake baths are relaxing because the alcohol promotes blood circulation and moderate perspiration. The amino acids in sake also have a skin beautifying effect.

(However, please test the suitability of sake for your own skin before use.)

3. Sake for Skin Toner

Did you know that sake can also be used as toner? The hands of the toji (master brewers) who make sake are said to have smooth, beautiful skin. It is believed that sake is rich in ingredients that are considered to be good for the skin. In recent years, many skin care products such as lotions, milky lotions, and packs using sake have become popular in the beauty market.

Use the following four items to make sake toner on your own:

Sake (junmai-shu): appropriate amount
Purified water: appropriate amount
Glycerin (or hyaluronic acid or essential oil): a few drops
Container for toner


Put sake into a well-washed and dried container
Add purified water
Add glycerin (or hyaluronic acid or essential oil)
Shake the container lightly to mix and you are done!

The ratio of sake to purified water can be changed according to your taste, but 1:1 is a good ratio to start with. If the smell of alcohol is too strong for your nose, increase the amount of purified water and adjust the proportion. If you like the aroma of sake, you can change the ratio to about 2:1, sake:purified water. Since handmade lotion contains no preservatives, it should be stored in the refrigerator and used up within 3 days of production.

As a precaution, handmade skin care products may not suit all skin types, so be sure to test with a small amount in an inconspicuous area of your skin before use.
Sake, in particular, contains alcohol, so please do not use it on children.


So instead of storing your left-over sake in the refrigerator and soon forgetting all about it, why not try it for cooking, or a luxurious bathing time, or even to make some simple DIY beauty items? Let’s make the most of sake - no matter what you use it for, we believe you can have a good time!