One of the most excellent points of sake, other alcohol doesn’t have, is that we can drink sake with various temperature.
Especially, sake is very rare alcohol we can enjoy with warm or hot. Most the people can’t accept warm beer. I believe beer always has to be icy cold.
Some of you may have some bad experience of hot sake.
It happened not only outside of Japan but also in Japan. It’s even cruel, but some of the restaurants with less knowledge about sake select wrong sake and boil it.
Those corrupted hot Sake tend to have a powerful aroma of alcohol and no complex taste; it’s just super dry. It’s unfortunate those bad hot sake made their first experience ruin.
It’s true that the real hot sake tastes richer, smoother and even better for your health. You may feel it’s challenging to make hot sake in your house, but I will show you hot Sake is not only available in the restaurant.
I will tell you how to select sake good for the hot Sake and the easy way to make delicious hot sake.
How to select Sake good for hot Sake
There are several rules to select sake for warm or hot sake. At first, don’t choose the aromatic Sake. By warming sake up, its aroma is volatilized a lot and turns too strong. Sometimes, the elegant aroma goes away.
2nd, select sake with rich umami and sweetness influenced by rice. You may be like dry type sake, but please believe me and try hot sake with full body type sake. Heat makes umami and sweetness bloom, and taste turns much milder and creamier. It’s good evidence that Sake is made from rice. Sake inherits the feature of rice. Very dry Sake which has lee umami and sweetness is smooth to be just too dry.
3rd, Junmai is even better. It’s similar to 2nd, but Honjozo type other alcohol added sake tends to be drier than Junmai type so that Junmai sake is generally a better choice.
But, you may say “It’s not always possible to taste sake before buying.” I will tell you an easy method to find sake which is good for warm and hot.
1. Check the back label
It’s not joking!! Some of Sake has the description of recommended temperature to drink in the back label. Sometimes, it’s described with a picture, so that I recommend to check the back label first.
2. Junmai is mostly OK, Kimoto is even better
If there is no mention about the temperature in the back label, select Junmai type sake. Junmaiginjo and Junmaidaijinjo tend to have glamorous aroma with high probability so that it’s better to avoid them. Of course, it’s right there are great Junmaiginjo or Daijinjo for hot sake.
As I wrote about Kimoto in this article, Kimoto is one of the perfect sake types for hot sake. Please check the article in detail but I would like to refer a little.
“The taste is far apart from the sake brewed by the current method, and it is perfect for warm Sake. Please imagine hot milk… Its fresh sourness gets milder, and the original creaminess is brought out.”
Different temperature, different taste
Japanese is too picky about the temperature of sake. Hot sake is divided into six levels by its temperature, and each of them has the name. It’s too specific to understand even for Japanese, though.
Firstly, it’s generally said that 45 degrees is the best temperature to enjoy hot sake.
How to make delicious hot sake
It’s a fundamental way to make 45 degrees hot sake. Duration of soaking Sake is a little different by vessel’s material, but the procedure is always same. Mainly, the most important thing is to warm sake as quick as possible with boiled water.
1. Pour sake in the cup
You can pour as much quantity you like to drink, but it’s better to be around 180ml. It’s quick to get hot in case of making hot Sake with less volume.
*Vessel can be any kinds like ceramic cup or sake bottle, except for glass.
2. Wrapping the cup
The aroma is easy to be volatilized, so that wrap can keep the aroma.
3. Prepare pot and pour water
Pour water until cup soaks up to half.
4. Take the cup out, heat water until it boils
5. Turn the stove off, soak the cup
6. Volatilized sake aroma push the warp up, take it out from the hot water
It takes around 2-3 mins.
7. Touch the bottom of cup
If you think it’s a little hot, that’s the best temperature.
8. Enjoy with ceramic cup
Thick ceramic cup is suitable for drinking mild hot sake. Tin cup is also good for keeping the temperature.