Sake 101: How to Heat Up Sake


Always wanted to heat up your sake but don't know how? Some of you might have already known that Japanese sake can be a very versatile drink. You can serve sake at varying temperatures, as some are best served chilled, whereas some would taste better warmed. In this post, we are going to give you a better understanding of the different temperatures of serving various types of sake. 

Basics

You can drink sake on the rocks, chilled, room temperature, warmed or hot. Even though, more than not, most sake is recommended to be drunk chilled, room temperature or warmed. There is a Japanese saying that sake can taste very different at every 5 ℃ change in temperature, so it is up to the consumer to find what they like.  
Sake Inn Sake Drinking TemperaturesTraditionally, sake is served warm but due to advancement in sake brewing technology, certain sake flavour profiles can be destroyed by heat and hence drinking it chilled or at room temperature would be more ideal. Therefore, there is a general rule on the best temperature to serve certain classifications of sake as seen below. 

Junmai Ginjyos & Junmai Daiginjyos, Daiginjyos: Best served chilled due to the delicate, fragrant, and elegant flavour profiles. By heating these sakes, it would destroy the flavours and fragrances the brewery has worked so hard for. 

Tokubetsu Junmai and Ginjyos: Can be served at room temperature or chilled.
Honjyozo: Good all at temperatures, but recommend to be served either chilled or warmed. 

Futushu:
 Good all at temperatures, however, the recommended serving suggestion would be either room temperature or warmed. Most restaurants in Japan that serve warm/hot sake would serve futushu, or also known as table sake.

This is just a general guide, there is still plenty of good sake, premium ginjyos, and an occasional daiginjyo, that can be warmed to bring out certain aroma and flavour. However, it is important to note that different sake will appeal to different people at different temperatures. What appeals to you the most would be the best temperature for you. 

How to Heat Up Sake

Sake Inn Warming up Sake Water Bath

Water Bath for Warming Up Sake

1) Pour sake into tokkuri (sake instrument for holding sake). 
2) Add water into pot and ensure that the water level in the pot is leveled or higher than the sake level in the tokkuri.
3) Turn on heat for the pot, and gradually heat up the water. 
4) Do not use high heat. 
5) Monitor the temperature using a thermometer to ensure that you do not overheat your sake.

Sake Inn Warming Up sake using microwave

Warming Sake using a Water Bath

1) Pour sake into tokkuri.
2) Cover tokkuri with aluminum foil or anything that would be able to fully cover the opening of the tokkuri.
3) Microwave in batches (15s each on low) till the sake is heated to the temperature of your liking.
4) Do not microwave for too long or it will destroy the flavour profile of the sake.

Sake Inn warming up sake using hot sake pot

Warm Sake using a Hot Sake Pot (available here)

1) Pour sake into inner pot (left).
2) Pour hot water into main ceramic pot (centre).
3) Use a choko cup (right) to cover the sake pot.
4) Wait till sake in the inner pot is warm enough if not, change the hot water in the main ceramic pot. 

Sake Recommendations

Sake Inn Hot Sake

Ozeki Karatamba Honjyozo Sake is the masterpiece of the Tamba Toji (brewmaster). Their unique brewing method and technique produce this superb, dry and crisp sake. Ozeki Karatamba has a full-bodied, rich taste that feels smooth on the palate. This is the perfect sake to indulge yourself!

Recommended serving temperature: Chilled, room temperature, 5-10 ℃ and 40-45 ℃
Flavor: Dry & Smooth
Polish Rate: 70%
Food Pairing: Spicy Dishes (e.g. Buffalo wings), Grilled Salmon, Fried food


Sake Inn Hot Sake
Authentically dry Kiku-Masamune Kasen Honjozo Sake which boasts a refreshing, rich taste that is free of impurities. Not to mention its clean and crisp finish that leaves you wanted more. Not to mention, Kiku-Masamune has switched to using the traditional Kimoto method for brewing since September 2009, refining this exceptional label to perfect a balanced taste and powerful, crisp finish. It has been in the market for over 30 years and is considered one of the most famous sake in Singapore.

Recommended serving temperature: Chilled, Room temperature and 40-50 ℃
Flavor: Dry & light
Polish Rate: Unspecified
Food Pairing: Heavy dishes (e.g. Stew, cream pasta), Fried Fish 

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After knowing more about warming your sake, do note that heating sake at very high temperatures (especially higher than recommended) would impair the flavours intended by the toji master and the sake brewery. That being said, do not be afraid of trying some different. You might find something new that you will like.

Do let us know in the comments below if you have any sake queries regarding warming your very own hot sake, and we will try our best to help you :-) Kanpai!


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