The JapanCulture•NYC Holiday Gift Guide – Part V

Kanpai!

Still grappling with holiday gift ideas this Christmas Eve? For procrastinators, this is nothing, but for those of you who are more organized, you might be feeling a bit stressed right now. Look at it this way: Remember when we were in the throes of the lockdown in New York City and no one knew what day it was? All was forgiven because, well, 2020. Why would Christmas be any different?

All of a sudden, we woke up, and it was Christmas Eve. If you send a gift to a friend or family member and it arrives late, does it really matter? It’s the thought that counts, and we should be kind to ourselves. (Procrastinators are pros at justifying our procrastination!)

So, for those super-last-minute gifts, we recommend sake!

Sake is the perfect gift because, let’s face it, everyone could use a drink right now.

In the fifth installment of our 2020 Holiday Gift Guide, we suggest our favorite places to buy sake in New York City. You can support local businesses—which is a major theme of our Holiday Gift Guide every year, but this year in particular—give a boost to Japanese sake breweries, and let someone on your gift list enjoy a taste of Japan.

In no particular order, here are our fave places to buy sake in New York City. These places put you in the holiday spirit(s)!

Sakaya

NYC’s first shop specializing in premium sake

Address: 324 E. 9th Street, New York, NY 10003
Phone: 212-505-7253
Website: sakayanyc.com
Instagram: @sakayanyc

Minoru’s Sake Shop at Landmark Wine and Spirits

A Chelsea liquor store with a huge section dedicated to sake and shochu. Minoru’s Sake Shop is a key supporter of Fukushima sake.

Address: 167 W. 23rd Street, New York, NY 10011
Phone: 212-242-2323
Website: wineon23.com
Instagram: @minorunyc
Holiday Special: Buy one 720 ml bottle of sake from Fukushima, get a 300 ml bottle AND a sake bag!

Minoru’s Sake Shop at Landmark Wine and Spirits

Kuraichi

Brooklyn’s go-to shop for Japanese spirits and sake, located in Japan Village at Industry City

Address: 267 36th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11232
Website: kuraichibk.com
Instagram: @kuraichibk

Union Square Wines and Spirits

Large selection of sake with an area devoted to sake from Fukushima Prefecture

Address: 140 4th Avenue, New York, NY 10003
Phone: 212-675-8100
Website: unionsquarewines.com/sake
Instagram: @usqwines

Fukushima sake at Union Square Wines

Ambassador Wines and Spirits

Upscale shop with a walk-in sake fridge

Address: 1020 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10022
Phone: 212-421-5078
Website: ambassadorwines.com
Free delivery within a 10-block neighborhood range; amount of delivery fee depends on location

Astor Wines and Spirits

Almost 200 artisanal sakes from around the world, stored in temperature-controlled units

Phone: 212-674-7500
Website: astorwines.com
Instagram: @astorwines
Open until 6pm on Christmas Eve!

Cocktails to Go

Sakagura

The mecca of sake in New York City since 1996, Sakagura is now offering a variety of sake flights to go! Check out their website to place an order and get these portable potent potables into the hands of everyone on your gift list! (Order dinner while you’re at it.)

Address: 211 E. 43rd Street, B1, New York, NY 10017
Phone: 212-557-5205
Website: sakagura.com
Instagram: @sakagurany

To-Go Sake Flight from Sakagura

Angel’s Share

This iconic Japanese speakeasy in the East Village has been whipping up creative to-go cocktails since the early days of the pandemic. The weather outside may be frightful, but the hot and canned cocktails by Angel’s Share are delightful!

Address: 8 Stuyvesant Street (Heated outdoor dining available at street level)
Website: angelssharenyc.com
Instagram: @angelssharetogo

Online Options

If you prefer to order online from the comfort of your own home while wearing pajamas, here are a couple of great services.

Drizly

E-commerce platform for alcohol delivery working with stores in your delivery area. Depending on where you are in the city, there is a wide range of sake, shochu, Japanese beer, and Japanese whisky available. Delivery times range from “Get it now” to next day to two or three days later

Website: drizly.com
Instagram: @drizlyinc

Tippsy

Consider this online sake subscription service to educate someone on your gift list about the beverage. Choose a subscription box or order individual bottles from their selection of more than 200 sakes.

Website: tippsysake.com
Instagram: @tippsysake

$10 shipping fee (Free shipping of six bottles or more)
$10 off your first order with promo code TIPPSYFIRST

Happy Holidays from JapanCulture•NYC! Kanpai!