Sake Tip: How to Warm Sake

On February 1, 2014, by Timothy Sullivan

With a winter chill in the air, you may be, like me, thinking about enjoying some warm sake. Hakkaian Honjozo is famous around the world for being an excellent sake for serving warm. Why our honjozo? Hakkaisan Honjozo is our most versatile sake and perfect for warming. It has a clean, beautiful taste that is approachable and easy to enjoy at many temperatures. The clean taste keeps your palate alert and fresh. Let’s take a look at the best way to warm sake! It’s easy once you know what to do.

Here are some simple steps to enjoy the perfect warmed sake at home!

1) Heat a medium saucepan about 3/4 full of water on the stove.
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2) While the water is heating, fill your sake carafe with Hakkaisan Sake. You’ll want a ceramic carafe as shown here with a narrow neck. These are called “tokkuri” in Japanese.
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3) Bring the water to just below a simmer. You’ll begin to see a few little bubbles rising to the surface. We don’t want to bring the water to a boil.
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3) At this point, turn OFF the heat and set your sake carafe into the water bath. The water will first warm the ceramic of the carafe and then gently warm your sake.
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4) Next you’ll want to use a thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature. There is a range of temperatures that you can target for warming sake. Experiment and see what temperature you like best. For Hakkaisan Honjozo, I recommend warming to the “Jokan” temperature. You can use this chart as a guide:

Sake Naming and Temperature Chart
Japanese Name Celsius Fahrenheit English Name
Tobikirikan 55° C 133° F Very Hot Sake
Atsukan 50° C 122° F Hot Sake
Jokan 45° C 113° F Slightly Hot Sake
Nurukan 40° C 104° F Warm Sake
Hitohadakan 35° C 95° F Body Temperature
Hinatakan 30° C 86° F Sunbathing in Summer

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5) When your sake has reached the temperature you want, carefully remove the carafe using a towel. Dab the carafe with the towel to remove any residual drips from the water bath. Be careful, as the carafe will be hot.
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6) Pour your sake! The carafe itself is now heated through and the residual heat will keep your sake warm at the table. Enjoy your warm Hakkaisan Sake!
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