Perfect Guide to Select Good Sake for Hot Sake and Easily Make Delicious Hot Sake


One of the greatest point of sake, other alcohol doesn’t have, is that we are able to drink sake with various temperature.
Especially, sake is very rare alcohol we can enjoy with warm or hot. Most of 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 in outside of Japan, but also in Japan. It’s even cruel but some of restaurants with less knowledge about sake select wrong sake and boil it.
Those corrupted hot sake tend to have very strong smell of alcohol and no complex taste, it’s just super dry. It’s very sad 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 difficult to make hot sake in your house, but I will show you hot sake is not only available in restaurant.

I will tell you how to select sake good for hot sake and the easy way to make delicious hot sake.


Select sake for hot sake

There are several rule to select sake for warm or hot sake. At first, don’t select high aromatic glamorous sake. By warming sake up, its aroma is volatilized a lot and turns too strong. Sometimes, the elegant aroma totally goes away.

2nd, select sake with rich umami and sweetness influenced by rice. You maybe 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 richer. It’s a good evidence that sake is made from rice. Sake inherits the feature of rice. Very dry sake which has lee umami and sweetness is easy 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 a very 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 picture, so that I recommend to check the back label first.

2. Junmai is mostly OK, Kimoto is even better
If there are no mention about temperature in the back label, select Junmai type sake. Junmai ginjo and Junmai daijinjo tend to have glamorous aroma with high probability, so that it’s better to avoid them. Of course, it’s true there are great Junmai ginjo or daijinjo for hot sake.
As I wrote about Kimoto in this article, Kimoto is one of the perfect sake type 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 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 6 levels by its temperature and each of them has 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

This is very basic way to make 45 degrees’ hot sake. Time to soak sake is little different by vessel’s material, but procedure is always same. Especially, 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 should be more than 200ml. It’s very easy to get hot in case of less quantity.
*Vessel can be any kinds like ceramic cup or sake bottle, except for glass.


2. Wrapping the cup
Its 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. Even though you would like to make it little warm, it should be warmed with boiled water. Otherwise, it takes longer time and alcohol goes way.


7. Touch the bottom of cup
If you think it’s little hot, that’s the best temperature.


8. Enjoy with ceramic cup
Roundish ceramic cup is suitable for drinking mild hot sake. Tin cup is also good for keeping the temperature.