For an unconventional New Year's toast, we can't think of a better option than Marumoto Brewery's Hou Hou Shu, a sparkling unfiltered Junmaishu sake. Tim and I first sampled it when we visited NYC's tofu restaurant Kyotofu and loved the light, slightly sweet flavor and gentle, natural carbonation which makes for a drinking experience very similar to champagne.
At only 6% alcohol, the fruity taste pairs well with the same types of foods that go well with either sake or champagne, so seafood, fruit or anything light would be a particularly chic celebration—not to mention the sweetly charming design of the blue bottle. It's also rumored to come in a version infused with rosehips and hibiscus, but that may be a bit harder to track down.
Individual 187 mL bottles are available for $8 from Argonaut Wine and Liquor or we recommend a 300 mL bottle along with 12 delicious Miso brownies from Kyotofu for $45.
Image via The Second Glass