How to enjoy hot sake
Sake is one of the few alcoholic beverages that can be enjoyed at a diverse range of temperatures, from super chilled to as hot as 60°C. Not all sake is as enjoyable hot as it is cold and many sake come to life only once it has reached its sweetspot. Some sake drinks well over a variety of temperatures so experiment with your favourite sake.
To enjoy hot sake you will need the following...
- A sake thermometer to give you an accurate reading of your desired temperature
- A Tokkuri for heating and serving. Or for those who prefer the deluxe version use a Tanpo
- Hot sake cups - Preheat some Ochoko with a little hot water or use Guinomi made from tin or ceramic
- A pot of boiling water
Read instructions on how to heat sake.
Hot sake tip
Heat only as much sake to fill one round of drinks so you can keep it at optimal temperature. Heat, pour, drink, repeat. Of course the cheeky exception would be to slip a bottle in the water bath that you use for sous vide but out of respect for the brewer you should finish the bottle.
A note about sake temperature
We all know that aromatic white wine is best served chilled while fuller styles such as a buttery chardonnay become more interesting as they warm in the glass. The same can be said for sake but over a much wider temperature range. In terms of hot sake, fuller richer styles will be better at hotter temperatures but as sake is a multifaceted beast there are many exceptions.
Some sake is as excellent hot as it is chilled but do try your sake across a broad range of temperatures to find your own personal simpatico.
One example of sake we enjoy both hot and cold is the Dohatsu Shoten from Oita Shuzo. At somewhere between 5°C and 10°C it is a big muscular brute with firm acid and strong alcohol. Leave it out of the fridge too long and it loses its appeal. In winter we decided to warm a flask of Dohatsu to ward off the chill. And the results? - 30°c – boring, 40°c – meh, 50°c – getting better, 55-60°c – big round rich palate and probably one of our favourite hot session sake.
There are some pitfalls of drinking hot sake.
- After a few drinks it’s probably not a good idea to be playing around with all that boiling water, so be careful.
- Those tiny cups and tokkuri can get quite hot so keep a napkin handy.
- Hot sake is one of those sneaky drinks that catches up on you probably due to the fact it is very easy to drink, so as always please drink responsibly.
Hot Sake Recommendations
|Oita Oni Koroshi Dohatsu Shoten Dry||Oita Shuzo, Gifu prefecture||More|
|Hanzo Tokubetsu Junmai||Ota Shuzo, Mie prefecture||More|
|Nagaragawa Karakuchi||Komachi Shuzo, Gifu prefecture||More|
|Senbazuru Junmai||Sato Shuzo, Oita prefecture||More|
|Hanamikura Aya||Hakusen Shuzo, Gifu prefecture||More|