Ultimate Sake Tasting – How to Drink Sake, Hot or Cold?

sake

Do You Like Sake to be Hot or Cold?

Sake is good to drink both with cold and hot. When you drink sake hot, it is called ‘atsukan’.
Drinking temperature also ranges from 5 ° C to 60 ° C over a wide range compared to other alcoholic beverages. Each category of temperature has a name. Regarding hot sake, there are six stages.sake atsukan

Between 30℃ and 40℃, you taste bitterness less and taste more sweetness.
Between 45℃ and 55℃, sake taste more sharp and dry.

How to Make Atsukan?

Here are three ways to make hot sake (atsukan).
1. Put the tokkuri (sake bottle) into the pot with the boiled water. Stop the fire at this moment. Heat it up there for around 2-3 minutes. This is the best way to heat up sake.
2. Heat up sake in the boiling water.
3. Heat up sake up in the microwave. You may better stir it before drinking.

Good Effect of Drinking Hot Sake

Alcohol has a function of cooling the body. It may be good in summer, but when you drink cold alcohol in winter, your body gets cooled down. By deinking hot sake, you can get the effect of preventing alcohol temperature drop.

“Alcohol is not absorbed into the body unless it gets to a temperature close to the body temperature. When you drink cold sake, absorption begins after it is sufficiently warmed in the stomach. So when you drink cold sake, there is a time lag until you feel tipsy.

In Japan we have a saying that 『親の小言と冷酒は後から効く』 meaning you only realize afterward that what your parents tell you was right and cold sake is actually making you drunk.

On the other hand, alcohol absorption begins sooner when drinking hot sake. So you would feel drunk sooner than when drinking cold sake. This means less chance to get hangover..! If you like to drink a lot or wants to get drunk soon, hot sake can be a good way for that.

Which Sake is Good to Drink with Hot?

① Dry sake
② Rich sake
Example: Junmai, Honjozo and Futsu-shu.

We tried four different hot sake this time.

① Konteki (Junmai 60%)
Compared to cold sake, its flavor spread into the mouth immediately after drinking and the scent became stronger. We liked cold one to hot one for this sake.

② Rakuden (Junmai 65%)
Compared to cold sake, the flavor spread swiftly, it got easier to drink itself. And the scent became a little stronger. We liked hot one much better for this sake.

③ Iwai (Junmai 80%)
This unique character came from iwai rice still existed thought it was heated up. Iwai is better with cold as its freshness is not killed.

④ Satoru (Food rice Jumai 60%)
Compared to cold sake, sourness from special process and the uniqueness from food rice were reduced and got easier to drink.

⑤ Tomio (Junmai Daiginjo 50%)
Being heated up, its great fruity aroma has gone. There might be nothing good to heat it up.

What We Found about Hot Sake

We found sake with less polished rice is better to drink hot. As Yamadanishiki, the king of sake rice is good for highly polished rice, you may not appreciate hot one with it as much as cold one. Also, sake using Iwai rice has refreshing taste. It’s probably better to stick with drinking cold.

Food Pairing with Hot Sake

① Hot meals ② Richly flavored dishes are well matched with hot sake.
Example: oden, sushi and boiled tofu

Lastly, we would like to introduce you how to make our favorite recipe of “Boiled Tofu” (yudofu)

Ingredients
· soup stock (dashi)
· tofu
· chopped green onion
· soy sauce
· seasoning (shichimi)

tofu

① Make soup stock just by putting soup stock in hot water.
② Put tofu into boiling soup and warm it firmly.
③ Add chopped green onion, soy sauce and seasoning as much as you like and it is done!!

Kyoto is famous for delicate food such as tofu and vegetable pickles. You must come here to try them with sake!!

Join Our Tour!

When visiting Kyoto, you can’t miss a sake tour of Fushimi – so why not join us on a hunt for the area’s best sake, and best combination with food pairing session and find your favourite along the way?

BOOK NOW

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Our Sake Tour Reviews

  •   My husband and I did the sake experience in late January with Kotaro. We had a great time! It was educational, memorable, and truly unique. We got to learn how sake is made, what sake means to Japanese culture, and more importantly, we got to...More

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    2/17/2020
  •   Kotaro was our passionate, informed guide. Great balance of education, history and local knowledge, all culminating in a generous sake tasting at the brewery and matched with food in the family home. Make the time to do the 3 hour tour - well worthwhile!

    thumb gregostravels
    2/14/2020
  •   I’ve done beer and whiskey tours before but always wanted to find out more about nihonshu (Japanese sake). Kotaro San was very friendly and informative with a good sense of humor. Definitely would recommend this to anyone coming to Kyoto. We chose this over the...More

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    2/13/2020
  •   My friend and I had an amazing night with Kotaro as our guide. The tour was incredibly informative and interesting. The sake and food pairing was both delicious and enlightening. I highly recommend this experience. My only complaint is that I didn't take the time...More

    thumb ccuellar25
    2/10/2020
  •   This was my girlfriend and I’s first tasting tour and we can only hope that out others in the future will be as professional and well organized as this. Our group was a perfect size and the afterwards sake tasting and food paring was super...More

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    2/10/2020
  •   I am not usually one to go on tours while on holiday, but I am so glad I tried this Kyoto Insider Sake Experience! It was very interesting and insightful, and both Kotaru and Marika (they have a very clever way of remembering their name...More

    thumb sn5
    2/09/2020
  •   My wife and I found a brochure in our hotel in Kyoto and this sake experience sounded interesting, when we got to the start location and meet Kotaro he was most welcoming to all the guests. During our experience he showed us how passionate/knowledgeable he...More

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    2/08/2020
  •   If you are visiting Kyoto, a town well known for sake, you have to join this experience. The tour has a good balance of being informative and interesting, my tour leader (Kotaro) is very professional and explains all I want but not too much (while...More

    thumb lancelotcym
    2/05/2020
  •   Kotaro-san was our guide and he is very meticulous in explaining the process and the different types of Sake. He shared many tips and it was very educating for us. We learnt so much, not only about sake, also about culture, location and history! Highly...More

    thumb momojellies
    2/03/2020
  •   Such an amazing tour- my husband I learned so much about sake and the Kyoto/fushimi area. This was by far the highlight of our Kyoto trip. Would recommend for anyone visiting the area!!

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    2/03/2020

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