Gather round the hibachi bar, my children. I'm about to tell you the Tale of The Sake Bomb. Order yourselves some spicy tuna rolls and a shrimp tempura appetizer. We're going to partake in a beer cocktail ritual that involves shouting and pounding on tables in Japanese restaurants. Sound fun? Then keep reading.
According to Wikipedia, the sake bomb is a beer cocktail made by pouring sake into a shot glass and dropping it into a glass of beer. But the method is what makes it so popular in American sushi bars.
As with any important ritual, gather your supplies first. If you're doing this at home, you'll need: flat-sided chopsticks, a pint glass, and a shot glass. Of course you'll also need beer and sake. Go with the theme and get a Japanese beer like Sapporo and a bottle of inexpensive sake. Only because good sake is too good to waste in a sake bomb.
How To Do a Sake Bomb
So here you are, surrounded by California Rolls and other drunken patrons if you're in the right atmosphere. You're feeling pretty good.
Lay the two chopsticks across the top of the glass of beer. Carefully balance the shot glass filled with warm sake on top of the chopsticks. The sake doesn't have to be warm, but warming was invented to mask the unpleasant flavors of cheap sake.
Back to the sake bomb. The drinker begins to pound the table with their fists, until the shot glass of sake falls into the beer. Chug it all down immediately.
To add to the drama of it all, the drinker can also count to three in Japanese, yelling, "Ichi, ni, san, sake bomb!" Some sake bomb enthusiasts yell "Kanpai!" which translates to "bell." It's the Japanese equivalent of yelling, "Cheers!"
A few variations on the ingredients of the sake bomb have evolved. The method is the same but Red Bull can be substituted for beer. My heart is pounding already. You can also replace the sake with a shot of tequila and violently pound that into beer. The possibilities are endless.
Who Invented the Madness of the Sake Bomb?
No one knows for sure who first thought of this beer cocktail, but the most common theory says it was invented by American soldiers occupying Japan after World War II. The only place you'll find sake bombs on the menu is between Los Angeles and New York. It is not a thing in Japan.
College is where most of us learned about the sake bomb, but for those few and far between "Mom's Night Out" events, this ritualistic drinking game still creeps back into drunken karaoke at the local hibachi place. Pass the sashimi and hand me the microphone.