HOW TO ENJOY HOT SAKE

Kanzake. Japanese Hot Sake.

In Japan, heating up Japanese Sake is called ‘Okan suru’ and Japanese Sake served warm is called ‘Kanzake’. This uniquely Japanese method of heating Sake has a surprisingly long history and can be dated back over 2000 years.

By heating Sake you are able to enhance the complex flavors in Japanese Sake. These flavors can spread across the palate and give a deep, full-bodied flavor when swallowed. It is a good idea and can be fun to experiment with different temperatures to see what temperature you like your hot Sake.

See below for some easy methods to achieve the best results when heating your Sake. Temperature preferences vary from person to person, however, overheating Sake can make it very dry and destroy the delicate balance of the flavors.

How to prepare delicious Hot Sake

The key is to not leave the Sake decanter in the water for too long!

【Hint】
Fill the Sake decanter till it is 90% full then cover the mouth with plastic wrap to prevent the aroma from escaping.

Ready a pot or bath of hot water. Fill it with water and place the Sake decanter in the water. Adjust the level of the water so that approximately half of the Sake decanter is immersed.

Remove the Sake decanter and place the pot on the stove to boil, then turn off the heat.

Once you have turned off the heat, place the Sake decanter in the water.

【Hint】
If you only use water heated to 104°F (40°C) for example it will take longer to heat the Sake and you will loose some of the alcohol content. The key to heating Sake is immersing it briefly(2-3 minutes) in boiling water.

Remove the Sake decanter from the water when the Sake rises to the mouth of the decanter.

Place your finger on the bottom of the Sake decanter and if it feels relatively hot the temperature of the Sake should be just right.

【Hint】
*Please note that the temperature will feel different depending on the material and thickness of the decanter. It is generally said that “Nurukan”, 104°F (40°C) to “Jokan” 113°F (45°C) is the ideal temperature to drink Hot Sake, however preferences vary greatly from person to person. Please have fun experimenting with different temperatures to see which one is best for you.

Preparing Hot Sake in a microwave oven

The temperature in a microwave increases rapidly therefore it is not really recommended for preparing hot Sake, however if you have to use a microwave place plastic wrap around the mouth of the Sake decanter before heating.
Heating 180ml of Sake for approx. 40 seconds (*600W) will heat the contents to approx. 104°F (40°C) which is “Nurukan”.
When using a microwave oven the temperature at the top and bottom of the Sake decanter will vary. This can be resolved by removing the decanter after 20 seconds and swirling the Sake to achieve a consistent temperature. Then place it back in the microwave and continue heating until you reach your desired temperature.

【Hint】
When using a microwave oven, the temperature at the top and bottom of the bottle will vary. After approx. 20secs remove the bottle from the oven and swirl the sake to achieve a consistent temperature. Place it back in the microwave and continue heating until you reach your desired temperature.

Experiment with different temperatures and enjoy the different flavors and aromas

  • ■Hinatakan (room temp)

    【Drinking Temperature】
    30℃
    【Bottle Temperature】
    Bottle temperature hard to discern by touch
    【Aroma/Flavor】
    Subtle aroma
  • ■Hitohadakan (body temp)

    【Drinking Temperature】
    35℃
    【Bottle Temperature】
    Warm to touch
    【Aroma/Flavor】
    Flavor spreads across the palate.Pleasant aroma of rice and koji
  • ■Nurukan (lukewarm)

    【Drinking Temperature】
    40℃
    【Bottle Temperature】
    Not quite hot to touch
    【Aroma/Flavor】
    Strong aroma
  • ■Jokan (warm)

    【Drinking Temperature】
    45℃
    【Bottle Temperature】
    Steam should appear when pouring
    【Aroma/Flavor】
    Intense aroma
  • ■Atsukan (hot)

    【Drinking Temperature】
    50℃
    【Bottle Temperature】
    Steam should rise from the bottle and be hot to touch
    【Aroma/Flavor】
    Crisp, dry flavor with a sharp aroma
  • ■Tobikirikan (piping hot)

    【Drinking Temperature】
    55℃
    【Bottle Temperature】
    Bottle should be hot to touch
    【Aroma/Flavor】
    Sharp aroma with a dryer flavor