What are the differences between soju and sake?

In this brief article, we will provide you with the answer to the question: “What are the differences between soju and sake?”, discuss the types of sake, and share some recipes of delicious cocktails to make with sake.

What are the differences between soju and sake?

The main difference between soju and sake is that soju has a higher alcohol concentration and is prepared using more things than sake, which is made basically with water and fermented rice.  

Soju is a distilled liquor with an alcohol concentration ranging from 17 to 45 percent, which is really high, more than that of some gins and vodkas.

Soju may also be prepared using potatoes, sweet potatoes, wheat, tapioca, and barley, in addition to rice. It generally comes with a transparent liquid and has a smooth and pleasant flavor, making it ideal for special events such as a fancy meal.

Soju is available in fruit flavors like apple, lemon, and strawberry. 

Soju is commonly drunk in a shot glass, but it is also great in cocktails blended with various types of drinks.

Sake is a Japanese drink with a significantly lower alcohol level than soju. It contains 10 to 20 percent of alcohol and is mostly composed of water and rice fermentation.

Some fruit smoothies prepared with sake, such as strawberry, lemon, kiwi, and passion fruit, are wonderful. 

You can pair different varieties of sake with different foods. Junmai Ginjo, for example, pairs well with light meals like fish and vegetables. 

What are the types of sake?

Junmai sake

Junmai sake is made entirely of rice, water, yeast, and koji (Koji is the product of the cultivation of the fungus Aspergillus orizae on a substrate rich in starch), with no added sugar or alcohol. 

Junmai is often richer and fuller-bodied in taste, with a strong, mildly acidic flavor. Most people recommend serving it ice-cold, but serving it at room temperature or even warm is also a great option since it mellows out the acidity.


Honjozo is similar to Junmai since it is created with rice that has been polished to at least 70 percent. Honjozo frequently has a tiny quantity of distilled brewers alcohol added to smooth out the flavor and fragrance of the sake, enhancing it. Honjozo sake is a pretty safe bet that may be savored warm or cold.

Junmai Gingo or Ginjo

Ginjo is a premium sake that is made from rice that has been polished to at least 60 percent purity. It is produced with unique yeast and sophisticated fermentation procedures, resulting in a fruitier, more complex scent and flavor.

Junmai Daiginjo or Daiginjo 

Junmai Daiginjo, sometimes known as the Rolls Royce of sake, is a super-premium sake. A bottle may easily cost several hundred dollars or more, but for what it is worth, this is the greatest sake money can buy. 


Futsushu sake, often known as table sake, is pretty much bottom-of-the-barrel stuff. That is, it is cheap, uninteresting in terms of flavor, and a definite method to give you a terrible hangover.


Although not indicative of its quality, some people prefer to drink sake with genuine rice sediments floating inside it. These types are referred to as Nigori. Nigori sake is known for being sweet, creamy, and viscous. It is recommended to drink it cool.

What are some recipes for cocktails with sake?

Lemon Tea Sake

Sake and Lemon Tea are the main ingredients.

The ratio is ‘8 Sake: 2 Lemon Tea,’ however you may adjust it to your liking. Combine them with some ice. It truly tastes like lemon tea!

Yogurt and Sake

Sweet, nutritious, and good for the skin. 


100 mL Sake; 1 plain yogurt; 200g strawberry for garnish;  1.5 tbsp honey;  salt(optional)

Method: (Simply combine!)

In a mixing dish, combine all of the ingredients. Place it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Pour it into a glass and top with a strawberry.

Sake with tonic water

Tonic water, which is usually associated with gin, also goes well with sake. In addition to the items listed, orange juice is used in the preparation. The three ingredients must be combined in an ice-filled glass with a spoon. Finish with a fruit peel and a cinnamon stick.


In this brief article, we provided you with the answer to the question: “What are the differences between soju and sake?”, discussed the types of sake, and shared some recipes of delicious cocktails to make with sake.


“Difference Between Sake and Soju (with Table) – Ask Any Difference.” Accessed January 10, 2022. https://askanydifference.com/difference-between-sake-and-soju/.

Tan, Alvin. “Guide to 6 Types of Sake: How Nihonshu Is Made & Food Pairings.” Uncover Asia (blog), July 12, 2021. https://uncoverasia.com/types-of-sake/.

sake 0329. “8 Easiest Sake Cocktail Recipes You Can Make at Home.” SAKETALK (blog), October 30, 2014. https://www.sake-talk.com/8-easiest-sake-cocktail-recipes/.

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.