Despite their popularity, Japanese whisky and sake can be intimidating.

Ani Ramen in Downtown Jersey City boasts it has the largest selection of Japanese whisky in the area, with their self-published “Japanese Whisky Bible” to prove it.

It’s no surprise, then, that Japanese beverage expert Kayoko “Coco” Seo and international sake sommelier Jessica Joly have chosen the location as the next stop on their mission to create a new cocktail culture.
Joly is the force behind “Soul of Sake,” a weekly happy hour event in Manhattan that features flights of sake for customers to try. (“It’s an event for people who are new to sake and people who love sake to come and enjoy different sake weekly,” she says. “It makes sake super approachable.”)
Seo runs similar events featuring other Japanese spirits, such as
whisky or gin.

Despite their popularity, Japanese whisky and sake can be intimidating and diners don’t normally have the chance to try much of them, which is why Joly and Seo decided to offer flights in the hope that diners enjoy discovering the great taste of Japanese spirits in a new and accessible way.

Ani Ramen’s “Soul of Sake” — returning Tuesday, Oct. 23 — allows customers to explore spirit and food pairings at their own pace. 

At the first event in August, first up were three appetizers — including a choice of traditional pork, shrimp or tofu bun — paired with the first flight of spirits: one type of sake, one type of whisky, and then the two combined into one drink.

The second flight was served with the diner’s choice of ramen.

Joly and Seo presented each flight and gave background information on each spirit, walking diners through their technique of mixing and pairing.
The duo say they were drawn to Jersey City by its growing Downtown nightlife scene.  
“You see a lot of the city people moving to Jersey and you see Ani Ramen being one of the hippest and trendy spots,” Joly says. “I figured this would be the perfect place to start our event.”
If you go …

“Soul of Sake” is scheduled for 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 23, at Ani Ramen House, 218 Newark Ave., Jersey City. Tickets are $42 and include two featured sakes, two featured Suntory whiskys, three appetizers and a bowl of ramen. For information, go to or call 201-408-9811.

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