Outside of Japan, Yusho sells more nama genshu, a canned sake made in the Niigata prefecture, than anyone else. The sake was so popular that the restaurant, which has locations in Logan Square and Hyde Park, decided to offer a can with its own artwork. But to do that, Yusho had to commit to making a batch of 20,000 cans. Head bartender Alex Bachman even went to Niigata to watch the process.
The sake is cold and unpasteurized, with a floral nose and a fruity taste. It's refreshing and easy to drink (after the first few sips), but beware—it'll knock you off your feet at 19 percent alcohol by volume.
The 200-milliliter cans are outfitted with a cool blue octopus designed by Sarah Becan, a local illustrator and designer who makes the watercolor illustrations found around Yusho. The can is thicker than regular soda cans, as it's double-walled. And it has to be—since the sake is unpasteurized, it's more susceptible to going bad, as exposure to oxygen and other things in the air could affect the sweet, easy taste of nama genshu.
You can order cans to drink at Yusho alongside ramen or small plates, or grab some to go for $8 a can.