The Joy of Sake, the world’s largest sake tasting outside Japan, returns June 15 with the biggest sake celebration in the city’s history. The 14th Joy of Sake New York will feature a record 478 competition-level sakes, a record 19 top restaurants serving sake-inspired appetizers, and a doubling of space to accommodate an expected sellout crowd at the Metropolitan Pavilion on June 15.
New this year is the U.S. Sake Section where brewers from Brooklyn Kura, Boston’s Dovetail Sake and Moto-I from Minneapolis will pour their chilled nama or unpasteurized sake. Nama sake’s rewards are its fresh, lively flavors, but these can be tricky to maintain at competition standards through the long journey from Japan.
“U.S. breweries are making great strides in technical mastery,” says Joy of Sake founder Chris Pearce. “They are stepping up big time and we’re thrilled to have them pouring in New York at The Joy of Sake.” The restaurant lineup this year includes returnees 15 East, Sushi Nakazawa, Momofuku, Sakagura and Ivan Ramen; izakayas Yopparai, Bozu and Hibino; and Korean barbecue spot Insa, among others.
Newcomers include Chelsea’s Naoki, Sushi Seki Times Square, Morimoto and New York Times two-star winner Little Tong Noodle Shop.
Here’s the full list of participating restaurants:
Now in its 18th year, The Joy of Sake celebrates the ancient art of sake-brewing. It features hundreds of premium daiginjo, ginjo and junmai labels together with unique sake-inspired appetizers from top chefs in each city. The event serves as the public tasting that follows the U.S National Sake Appraisal, which is held annually in Honolulu. Brewers from throughout Japan, and an increasing number from the U.S., enter their best labels. Eleven expert judges from Japan and the U.S. participate in the three-day blind tasting, with gold and silver awards going to the most exceptional entries. Festival-goers sample fresh bottles of each label, including award winners, in an unparalleled public tasting.
With the popularity of Japan’s national beverage soaring overseas, The Joy of Sake is expanding for the first time to London, Europe’s fastest-growing sake scene. The New York event kicks off the sake festival’s annual world tour, followed by The Joy of Sake Honolulu on July 27, The Joy of Sake London on September 28 and The Joy of Sake Tokyo on November 7. The New York event is Friday, June 15, 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Metropolitan Pavilion in Manhattan. For tickets and information, visit joyofsake.com.