Whether you want to enjoy a drink with some newfound Japanese friends, or you’re eating out at a Japanese restaurant and craving some alcohol for a good time, “Sake” is a drink for you to experience. Sake is also good to pair with traditional Japanese cuisine. No matter what led you to this widely known Japanese drink, it’s good to know how much Sake you need to drink to get drunk.
What is Sake?
Sake is an alcoholic drink made from fermented rice. It is a recognizable Japanese alcoholic drink served at all types of restaurants. The foundations of a good sake are quality rice, clean water, koji mold, and yeast.
They are combined and fermented in a precise process to create the traditional drink. It’s often mistaken for wine due to its appearance and alcohol percentage, but it’s actually more like beer since it is made from fermented grains.
In Japanese, the character Sake refers to all alcohol in general. While for Japanese rice wine, we refer to it as Nihonshu. It is Japan’s national drink and one you can’t miss out on if you happen to visit an Izakaya (casual drinking establishment in Japan).
You can discover more about Sake in our full guide here: Sake Japan.
How Much Alcohol is in Sake?
If you’re looking to experience Japan’s original alcoholic drink, Sake or Nihonshu (Japanese rice wine) is the way to go. This clean-tasting and mildly sweet drink has a 15% alcohol percentage. Made using a traditional fermentation process, the alcohol percentage in this rice wine is capped at 21% by the Japanese government.
Compared to other alcoholic beverages, Sake has a similar alcohol percentage to wine which is 14-15%. It has three to four times more alcohol than beer, which contains around 4-7% alcohol. Meanwhile, it is only half as strong as hard drinks like gin, rum, tequila, and whiskey, with 40% alcohol by volume (ABV).
Can Sake Get You Drunk?
In short, Yes! It is possible for you to get drunk when drinking Sake as it is with any alcohol you consume. It will inevitably get you drunk if you drink to a certain extent.
However, Sake or Nihonshu is not typically the type of drink to chug to your heart’s content. It is best enjoyed with traditional Japanese cuisine and is recommended to drink with a “yawaragi mizu” (water chaser). The water chaser helps prevent you from getting sick. In that way, you’ll also enjoy the drink more.
How Much Sake To Get Drunk?
Any alcoholic beverage can and will get you drunk depending on your tolerance and how much you intake. The average ABV (Alcohol By Volume) in Sake is about 15%, so it’s usually more potent than wine but not as strong as hard liquor.
Nonetheless, check the bottle’s alcohol percentage as the variations of Sake can differ in alcohol percentage.
Getting drunk depends on several factors including your constitution, your gender, your daily habits, your genetics and so on. So the numbers you will see below are on average!
Typically, the serving size for Sake is called a Go (180ml or 6 oz) and it’s served with small porcelain cups called Ochoko. It can hold around 20-50 ml of Sake, roughly 0.7-1.7 fl oz.
I takes around than 6-14 cups of Sake for an average woman to get drunk. For an average male, it would take around 9-20 cups to get drunk on Sake. Please note that these numbers are if if you’re able to drink that amount within an hour.
By the way, if you want to drink Sake the proper way, feel free to order online one of our Japanese Sake sets!
How To Deal With a Sake Hangover?
Treat your Sake hangover like any other hangover you’ve had. The Japanese call hangovers “futsukayoi.” Hangovers are caused by dehydration, inflammation, and insufficient sleep. Symptoms may vary depending on the person, and the food and alcohol consumed the night prior.
There is no one-stop magic cure to a Sake hangover. But here are some general tips to recover from a hangover.
Soak up a lot of fluids as excessive drinking can lead to dehydration. Make sure you rehydrate enough to cleanse the fluids in your system.
Read More: Why Japanese People Always Drink Cold Water
You may need to sleep a little longer than usual, but you’ll feel much better after you wake up. Get some rest and try to regain the energy you’ve lost.
Get some carbs in your system
Some of your fatigue and headache from your hangover may be caused by a lack of fuel. People tend to forget to eat when they drink, lowering their blood sugar. Be sure to stock your body with healthy carbs like oats, sweet potatoes, bananas, blueberries, etc.
Take Pain Relievers (not Tylenol)
The Harvard Institute of Health recommends using pain relievers such as Aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin, other brands), and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). This will help with the headache and the overall achy feelings. Acetaminophen or Tylenol may accentuate the toxic effects on the liver if there is already alcohol in your system.
Take in lots of B vitamins and zinc
Finally, be sure to take in lots of B vitamins and zinc– A study published by the Journal of Clinical Medicine found that people whose food and beverage consumption contained greater amounts of zinc and B vitamins had less severe hangovers.
Japanese Hangover Remedy
Suppose you are suddenly discouraged from drinking Sake altogether because of the after effects–worry not! The Japanese have a hangover remedy drink that you can easily take as a preventive measure.
This hangover cure is made with Turmeric and Liver Extract (ukon and kanzouekisu). It contains good vitamins for your liver, such as B-12, iron, and folic acid and is used by the Japanese to treat various health problems.
These drinks are normally found in the energy drink section of Konbini stores (Japanese convenience stores). You have the option to choose “super,” “hyper,” or “premium,” depending on how much you think you’ll be drinking. Remember that you’ll have to take this cure-all before you get excited to go out and drink some sake.
How To Say I’m Drunk In Japanese?
So you’re out with your friends, and you’ve had a few too many drinks. You want to say that you’re drunk—but how?
You can use the casual way of saying it, which is “yotta” (酔った). Or you can say “yoimashita” (よいました) if you’re talking to someone you just met, someone you’re not as close to, or your superior–so long as they aren’t your close family or friends.
If you’re still sober enough, here are some more lingo to remember, use “yopparai” (よっぱらい) when referring to a drunk person. If you still feel like you haven’t had as much alcohol, say “osake ni you” (おさけによう), which means “to get drunk.”
And if you’ve had way too many drinks, the phrase to use is “kanzen ni yopparai mashita” (完全 に酔っ払いました), meaning “I’m completely drunk.” Now that you’ve learned some words, try them out when you go for a drink. Have fun enjoying your new lingo when drinking out with friends. And remember: drink responsibly!
I hope you now have a better idea on how much Sake to get drunk!
Having Sake can be a fun experience. In a place like Japan, where social etiquettes are integral, this may be what you need to loosen up a bit and have some fun. If you do plan on having some, make sure that you’re responsible and don’t drink too much.
Enjoy it with others (rather than by yourself) as social drinking (i.e., drinking with good friends) is a big part of the drinking culture in Japan. And don’t forget to “Kanpai!” (cheers!) when drinking.
If you are wondering what kind of dishes goes well with Sake, read our new post about Sake food pairing.