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

  •   Enjoyed very much. Location was nice. Instructor was great! There was a nice variety of sakes presented. All in all a very enjoyable and informative experience.

    thumb TenMuses
    12/11/2019
  •   I've tried to learn about sake before having gone to several free 'educational' tastings and experiences - this is the first time I've actually absorbed and understood what I was told! Knowledgeable guides, very friendly and helpful who not only answered all our questions about...More

    thumb Ross P
    12/10/2019
  •   As with wine and whiskey, much thought and variability goes into the making of sake. No better way to learn about different kinds of sake and judge the taste for oneself than taking this tour.

    thumb JoshJoshi
    12/09/2019
  •   Kotaro was very knowledgable about the different types of sake, the production process, and what types of food to pair them with. We also learned how to read the labels to identify the different types of sake. The sake itself was delicious, and the pours...More

    thumb Christopher P
    12/09/2019
  •   Kotaro and Maria were both very friendly and knowledgeable during this tour. They gave a good overview of how sake is made, the various types and how to distinguish them, as well as tips for buying sake and pairing it with food. I feel like...More

    thumb mihikareddy16
    12/06/2019
  •   This was an extremely well structured, informative and enjoyable tour. The leader (Kotaro) was very knowledgeable and the visits and tasting were excellent. The notes that were used in the tasting were also excellent.

    thumb DebitoN
    12/05/2019
  •   We learnt so much in a really interesting and engaging way. The guides were so lovely and very informative. One of the highlights of our trip, I would highly recommend!

    thumb Jessica_Melbs_89
    12/02/2019
  •   I really learn more about sake. Just wish it was more in depth. maybe have 2 kind of courses? Also the pairing didn't really work. Only the vintage sake.

    thumb 159jennifer
    12/02/2019
  •   Awesome! Learned so much! That Junmai and cream cheese combo is unforgettable! Great tour, good hosts and unique.

    thumb greengal2017
    12/02/2019
  •   I had tried sake before my trip to Japan, but really knew nothing about it. This tour was great, I left with an understanding and appreciation of sake. I loved being able to try several different kinds of sake, while learning what my preferences were....More

    thumb alisondmoore
    12/02/2019

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