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

  •   So very glad I chose this tour. I had no knowledge of the creative process required for sake production. Kotaro painstakingly walked us through the entire “brewing” procedure and the differences among the many types of sake created with different rices, percentages of polishing, pasteurization...More

    thumb maggie44113
    3/14/2020
  •   The Sake experience in Kyoto gave us the perfect Chance to learn everything we wanted to know about Sake. Our Host Kotaro was very friendly, answering all of our questions. I liked the variety of Sakes we got to taste and especially the food-pairing was...More

    thumb Leonferdinandcorin
    3/11/2020
  •   Very informative tour and tasting. The guide, Kotaro, spoke perfect English and was very knowledgeable. The regular museum was closed (like most of Japan at the moment) but we still managed to visit another brewery instead. The tastings were great - very different styles of...More

    thumb GreenSandwich
    3/10/2020
  •   Highly informative tour with excellent explanations behind the different types of sake. Find out which you like and how to find it in a bottle shop!

    thumb jamesh202020
    3/09/2020
  •   We had a fantastic time during our insider sake experience tour. Kotaro was very knowledgeable and friendly and made the experience very enjoyable for us. We learned the true way to enjoy sake both by itself and with food thanks to Kotaro. I would definitely...More

    thumb MrPedroB
    3/03/2020
  •   Extremely informative to finally understand the various types of sake and choose your favourite and how to combine with food. Highly recommended!

    thumb marcofP4557RC
    3/03/2020
  •   Kotaro was very knowledgeable and described the tour very well. He answered all of my questions and helped out a great deal with my understanding. I would recommend this tour to anyone who is interested in learning about sake

    thumb Sampenna
    3/03/2020
  •   The tour included a visit to a brewery with our guide, Asahi, giving a very informed overview of how Sake is made. He was able to answer any questions we had and made it an easy process to understand. There were tastings of 3 Sakes...More

    thumb GharghurMark
    3/01/2020
  •   The many reviews saying how good this tour is are spot on: this is a very good tour. Kotaro is very knowledgeable, ready to answer questions from all, whether general, technical or historical. The info he provided, particularly with the food pairing (which was a...More

    thumb og646
    2/22/2020
  •   Totally awesome experience. Everything was made clear. Meeting point was easy to find - just a couple of hundred metres from the nearest train station. The tour itself was extremely informative and enjoyable. There was two tastings involved - one at the main Sake brewery...More

    thumb therealbogeyman
    2/19/2020

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