Sake Is the Best Way to Secretly Drink Alcohol in Public

This submit initially appeared in the October 7, 2019 version of The Move, a spot for Eater’s editors to reveal their suggestions and professional eating ideas — typically considerate, typically bizarre, however all the time somebody’s go-to transfer. Subscribe now.


Although public ingesting isn’t morally flawed, it’s technically unlawful in most components of the United States. The factor is, everyone does it; I know as a result of I work in a wine retailer. Since the regulation is erratically and unfairly enforced, relying on who you might be, your open container of alcohol could make you the goal of additional scrutiny or go completely unnoticed. In current years, the introduction of canned wine and flasked cocktails has created a brand new sort of public drinker who’s infrequently recognized as such. But the factor we should always all be ingesting in public — and the transfer in the event you’re trying to drink on the subway or practice — is sake.

In Japan, merchandising machines are stocked with all kinds of drinks packaged to be consumed on the go, like shochu highballs, beer, and flavored malt drinks. According to Monica Samuels, director of sake and spirits for Vine Connections, a wine importer, “drinking on the bullet train is a huge part of the culture [in Japan]. There are countless opportunities to buy a cup or can of sake on the way to the train platform, and if you somehow miss all of these, there are bar carts snaking up and down the aisles of the train at most hours of the day.”

Although we lack the authorized and mechanical infrastructure to be so irreverent with our practice ingesting right here in the States, chances are high you’ll discover a number of sorts of vending-machine sake in the common metropolitan wine store. Sake is an ideal practice drink as a result of it’s clear (in different phrases, it seems like water to the common transit cop), it’s chilled, and it’s stronger than beer, however not as intense as wine, which suggests you’ll be able to drink it with out feeling like the remainder of your evening is predetermined. It’s additionally sudden. Sold in spherical flasks and reusable glass cups in 180- and 300-ml sizes, sake doesn’t stand out as alcohol as a lot as a can of beer or wine. I’ve consumed many a practice sake on the New York City subway feeling completely incognito.

And a public transit commute is definitely the best context for ingesting sake. We have already got a longtime morning-beverage tradition dominated by stimulants to get us via our day, however not often will we take into account what to have on the manner again. Train sake is sufficient to take your thoughts off the relative distress of a crowded automobile, however it may be downright nice in the event you’re seated on an above-ground trip throughout sundown. It additionally pairs properly with a podcast or music.

When selecting sake earlier than you head for the practice, skip the glowing and flavored selections in favor of a easy cup of junmai, the entry stage of premium sake, or an unpasteurized nama in a can, which has a richer taste. Sake is such a impartial beverage: clear, cool, and barely mysterious. And as a result of it’s dry with just a little little bit of umami issue, practice sake stays firmly in the aperitif class, which means you’ll be completely prepared for dinner when you lastly get residence.

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