Misadventures in Sake Infusion, Part I: Rosemary, Thyme, and Peppercorns

At first, looks good on Instagram...
At first, looks good on Instagram...


…It’s all part of the hipster quest.

After a lunch at Miya’s Sushi in New Haven, I got the bright idea that infusing sake with herbs from my garden would make a delicious drink.  My plan wasn’t entirely successful, but Edison didn’t invent the light bulb on his first try either.  Here’s what I did, so you can learn from my mistakes and come up with your own sake science experiment.


  • Mason jar
  • Coffee filter
  • Colander
  • Some other container


  • Half a mag of plain sake
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 6 or 7 peppercorns
  • 1 “twist” freshly ground pepper
About halfway through the jar, it starts to taste good.


  • Wash and dry a mason jar.  Fill most of the way up with sake.
  • Wash herbs and pat dry.
  • Add herbs, peppercorns, and pepper to sake.
  • Let the jar sit in a cool, dark area for two days.
  • Strain the infused sake into another container using a coffee filter in a colander.  Pour the strained sake back into the mason jar, or a sterilized jar if you don’t plan on drinking it within a day or two.
  • Serve chilled.

Where I think I went wrong was letting the herbs infuse for two days – one day probably would have done it, but by the second day my concoction really tasted like a pine tree.  (This didn’t stop me from drinking all of it, but I had to get it REALLY chilled first.)  It paired well enough with some smoked trout that Mike and I happened to have on hand, maybe because both flavors were “outdoorsy.”  But for my next attempt at infusion, I’m going to try fruit or hot peppers instead – stay tuned!


  1. Some of the best things come out of trial and error, so don’t give up!

    I like muddling my herbs into my cocktails just before drinking them…I’m not big on infused flavors because they can overpower the flavor.

  2. I have found that rosemary is a powerful flavor that must be used in moderation – too many restaurants i have been to are very heavy handed with it and it overpowers everything.  However – I have found mincing the leaves only very fine and adding no more than a teaspoon is fantastic!  by the way – keep experimenting, it is the only way to learn!

  3. I have been fantasizing about rosemary sake and I will take your advice. One day.  I LOVE sake and have been going through a total transition to it. Just when I think “it won’t be good in that” – it is. And it is even better than than whatever else. And with no acid reflux. Sake. Yum.

  4. i love to make bloody marys with rosemary infused sake! or mix it with 1 part sake, 1 part triple sec and 3 parts nice tangy margarita mix

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