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, 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.
Traditionally, 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.
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 slightly 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
Water Bath for Warming Up Sake
1) Pour sake into tokkuri (sake instrument for holding sake).
2) Add water into a pot and ensure that the water level in the pot is levelled or higher than the sake level in the tokkuri.
3) Turn on heat for the pot, and gradually heat up the water. Do not use high heat.
4) Monitor the temperature using a kitchen thermometer to ensure that you do not overheat your sake.
Warm Sake using a Hot Sake Pot (available here)
1) Pour desired sake into inner pot (left).
2) Pour hot water into main ceramic pot (centre).
3) Place inner pot into the main ceramic pot, and use the choko cup (right) to cover the inner pot.
4) Wait till sake in the inner pot is to your desired temperature, if not, change the hot water in the main ceramic pot and wait a little longer.
Warming Sake using a Microwave
1) Pour sake into tokkuri.
2) Cover tokkuri with a microwaveable plastic wrap 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.
Do note that some people may say warming sake using a microwave is not ideal, as there is a higher chance that you may overheat your sake. We would advise you to use a water bath or with a hot sake pot instead if you are not familiar with warming your sake in a microwave.
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 ℃
Flavour: Dry & Smooth
Polish Rate: 70%
Food Pairing: Spicy Dishes (e.g. Buffalo wings), Grilled Salmon, Fried food
Authentically dry Kiku-Masamune Kasen Honjyozo Sake which boasts a refreshing, rich taste that is free of impurities. It has a 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 ℃
Flavour: Dry & light
Polish Rate: Unspecified
Food Pairing: Heavy dishes (e.g. Stew, cream pasta), Fried Fish
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 enjoy even more.
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!