There are subscription boxes for everything from workout clothes to postapocalyptic survival supplies to high-end cheese. And now, there’s Tippsy, a new monthly subscription service that delivers bottles of sake.
The Long Beach-based company was started by University of Southern California alumnus Genki Ito. The service starts at $59 for a single box; each shipment contains three 10-ounce bottles of sake, and the deliveries come monthly. (Tippsy’s site also stocks and sells larger bottles of all the sakes it ships, if one particularly appeals.)
I brought a box to the person I go to for all things sake, Courtney Kaplan, co-owner of Ototo and Tsubaki in Echo Park. Kaplan recognized two of the three breweries represented in the box: Urakasumi “Junmai” and Sawanotsuru “Jitsuraku.” She described them as being larger producers you could easily find at most Japanese markets.
Each of the bottles comes with a card that includes a short blurb about the brewery, tasting notes like “dry, rich, sweet,” pairings like “meat, fish, fruit” and an ideal serving temperature. We drank the sake both at room temperature and cold per the suggestions on the card. Kaplan declared the sakes “good” but found the information cards to be insufficient.
“I wish they gave more pairings,” Kaplan said. “People might think you need to make Japanese-style meat or fish. And meat and fish are such broad categories.”
Kaplan also noted that it would be helpful to identify specific characteristics about the kinds of sake rather than basic tasting notes for the bottles provided.
So if your goal is to drink more sake of relatively good provenance, this box is for you. If you’re looking to become someone who can talk about sake at your next dinner party or knowledgeably pore over bottles at a shop, this service isn’t going to turn you into a sake savant.