Unlike other food and alcohol events where one might feel intimidated, there’s almost no way to tell who is a seasoned sake drinker or a novice; everyone is discovering something new, and it becomes a jovial affair rather quickly. You’ll have lots to learn with 382 competition-level sakes — of which 217 are not available in the U.S. — and sake-friendly foods provided by 21 of Honolulu’s hottest restaurants.
Two of the featured restaurants are brand new: Basalt, located in the new Duke’s Lane in Waikiki; and Calabash, Sheldon Simeon’s Wailea eatery opening later this year. Onopops is also debuting a new sake-themed popsicle.
This year, the event is going for the world’s largest kampai, or toast, with 1,500 people raising their glasses in joyful unison. The current record for the largest kampai is 1,000 people toasting the opening of a new Shinkansen line in Japan in March 2015, according to Guinness World Records. Fill your glass so at 8 p.m. you can be a part of the crowd toast in an attempt to shatter the old record and claim a new first for Hawaii.
And to top it off, you can take a selfie with Miss Sake 2017 Rino Tanaka, who will be pouring sake for guests as well.
If you’re new to the Joy of Sake, here are some basics:
• No need to bring sake cups. You can use plastic shot glasses or purchase nice ceramic ones.
• All the sakes are competition-level and were judged the week before, so they’re all in ideal drinking condition. About half are the premium daiginjo.
• You’ll be squeezing sake from little droppers into your cup. This means you have a lot of opportunity to experiment with pairings. Honestly, just “make any kine” unless someone has a strong opinion on a specific pairing, because there are always going to be some interesting surprises.
• Don’t limit your tasting to blanket statements like “I don’t like fruity” or “I only like dry.” You have 382 chances to expand your horizons!
• Stay hydrated. There will be lots of water. Also, be sure to eat something like the items below.
Joy of Sake Honolulu
Friday, August 4
6:30 to 9 p.m.
Hawaii Convention Center
Frolic’s exclusive SAKEFROLIC promo code will get you $10 off a general admission ticket to the Joy of Sake Honolulu on Aug. 4 at the Hawaii Convention Center. Promo code expires Wednesday night, July 26, 2017.