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

  •   Extremely well done A great education and a lot of fun. We have already been able to put what we learned to good use.

    thumb Dave M
    5/18/2019
  •   Great tour, guide is very knowledgeable on sake, it's origin, the means of production etc. Great tasting experience where you can taste the nionshu alone and then with small bites for a food accord which enhance the tasting! Definitely a must!

    thumb amthieu_pl
    5/13/2019
  •   We got a very good overview over the different types of Sake. The Sake we tasted were of various sorts and very good quality. I personally very much recommend to take the tour, highly educational as well.

    thumb Traveler25639065305
    5/10/2019
  •   A excellent tour, we had a very thorough tour of the Gekkeikan Okura museum & factory and we got to see and understand how Sake was and is made today. This was followed by a very well guided tasting and food pairing session with Kotaro...More

    thumb OTdeW
    5/09/2019
  •   I thought I knew a bit about sake, but that was clearly not the case. The course with Kotaro was simply amazing. If you would like to know more about sake, I would definitely recommend this experience!

    thumb azizfirat
    5/08/2019
  •   Kotaro was the perfect host. Outstanding English with an incredible depth of knowledge and experience. Gentle sense of humour and very kind with the complete novice. One of the best tours I've done. No question. If you want a "starters" guide to the complexity of...More

    thumb D6114PGdavidj
    5/07/2019
  •   This is one of the best drinking tours I have been on - ever! My husband and I have always enjoyed sake, but we have such a better understanding of the brewing process, the types and the best foods to pair with which after our...More

    thumb Kristen Z
    5/07/2019
  •   The tour was phenomenal and couldn't have been better! It was just me and friend on the tour, so it luckily turned into a private tour! It really went into depth on the history, the in depth process and how to pair each sake appropriately....More

    thumb Allison N
    5/05/2019
  •   The Kyoto insider sake experience is excellent. The explanations are very clear and smartly associated to the application with tasting of all the different types of sake. I really enjoyed it. This is definitely a worthy experience to keep once you return home.

    thumb C1399GQjeand
    5/05/2019
  •   I signed up for the sake tour for something to do in Kyoto, because I was in Japan, and because I always enjoyed Sake but knew very little about it. Kotaro was super knowledgeable, friendly, and made the afternoon a blast. Kyoto is one of...More

    thumb Mel b
    5/04/2019

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