SakeTrend January 2024 Newsletter
Visiting Shuen Kawashima （酒縁 川嶋）in Tokyo
My Sake Sensei, Kazu invited me over to Shuen Kawashima located in Musashi Koyama, Tokyo.
SakeTrend carries aged sake, and here is our aged sake from Fukugen Shuzo, and Tsuchida Shuzo.
Wish 2024 brings you even more happiness and success!!
The question among many new sake drinkers is What to make of Hot Sake? Is Warm Sake a good thing or a bad thing? Is it ok to like it Hot? Many people in the West, and novice sake drinkers, will assume either that all sake should be served warm, or they assume that only bad, cheap sake would be served warm. Both beliefs are untrue.
Though most premium sake is best tried chilled, sake can be quite versatile and expressive across a wide range of temperatures. Warm or hot sake is a very traditional way to enjoy sake. There are many sakes of the premium variety which shine best when warmed - honjozo, junmai, tokubetsu junmai or tokubetsu honjozo, especially Kimoto or Yamahai Junmai, even some junmai ginjo and higher. Another truth is that drinking warm sake is more about the feeling it gives than the flavor; and when there’s a chill in the air, sometimes you just feel like drinking it warm.
There is only one real way to know, and that is to try. Now is the time of year to properly appreciate a proper hot tokkuri of Atsu-kan or Kanzake. The question is which kinds of sake, and what temperature to serve it at.
Let’s cover some basics first. Having the proper equipment at home helps, a sturdy ceramic tokkuri (or a small vase or jar in a pinch) to warm the sake in a hot-water bath until the desired temperature. Use a thermometer until you get the timing, after a while you won’t need it. Start with Nuru-kan around 100-105F, then try it at a warmer temperature up to 120-125F for that truly hot experience. Pay attention to the balance of flavors, particularly the acidity and texture, and occasionally you will have quite a most different impression of the sake. But stop well short of boiling, and drink as quickly as you can, as the drop back down in temperature does not favor most sake. There’s no shame if you choose to use a microwave for warming, but be careful not to raise the temperature higher than desired.
Try any of these sakes warm, and enjoy the feeling -