I’m slowly learning to like beer (an achievement that has taken quite a bit of effort, I’m sure my family is very proud). But when it comes to canned drinks, I’ll always reach for whatever hard seltzer or wine cooler is available over a brewski. And for the last several years, my go-to has been Nude’s vodka soda. I don’t even really like vodka very much, and it remained the best option. But I’m here to announce that Nude’s Vancouver-based canned cocktail supremacy is coming to an end.
In its place (in my heart) is Sakebomb, a sake-based (!) ready-to-drink beverage that notably does not contain any vodka. I do like sake—hot or cold, expensive or... available—so I was very excited to try this drink, which is brewed in Surrey, B.C. and owned by 30-year-old Stefana Prodea, who is based in Austin, Texas.
And to be totally honest: at first, I was disappointed. Sakebomb does not taste like sake; it has a very light touch of that fermented riceness I like in the Japanese alcohol. I am in no way an expert in drinks, but I don’t think I would have been able to define Sakebomb as sake-based if I couldn’t see the can.
Sakebomb's three flavours (Lime Drop, Berry Blast and Peach Smash).
Perhaps, that’s the point—you don’t see me complaining that Nudes don’t taste like vodka. If masking the taste of alcohol under a heavy fruit presence is the goal, they nailed it. Plus, Sakebomb is good. It’s probably the best-tasting hard seltzer I’ve ever had, particularly the Lime Drop (the Berry Blast and Peach Smash are on the sweeter side). It’s light, refreshing, extremely drinkable without killing it on the sugar, and doesn’t have any of that nose-scrunching alcohol taste you get with even the most popular of seltzers. That’s probably due to how drinkable sake itself is.
After getting over my initial, sake-less shock, I had to admit this stuff was good. I just like it for a different reason than I like sake, same as liking Cheetos for a different reason than I like cheese. One is inspired by the other, but you can’t really compare them. And it’s likely that even folks who aren’t fans of sake are going to want to get their hands on these cans (sorry).
Proof: I was gifted one of each flavour (media perks!) but then immediately bought a 12-pack at Darby's.
Sakebomb is available at lots of liquor stores across the Lower Mainland (here’s a map).