ABOUT SAKE   FAQ - D. TASTING SAKE &
PAIRING WITH FOODS
   
 
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d-1. There are many types of sake. Which should be served warm and which should be chilled?

A general rule is that all types of sake can be enjoyed chilled, but warming sake has certain restrictions; for example, Ginjo and DaiGinjo-type sakes should not be warmed. Below are specific guidelines for the two fundamental categories of sake, from which other types stem:
  • Junmai-type and Tokubetsu-Junmai sakes: Serve at room temperature to warm
  • Ginjo-type and DaiGinjo type sakes: Serve chilled to room temperature
(Note: Whether warming or chilling sake, avoid extremes: do not over heat or over chill. Sake’s delicate bouquet, aroma and soft body are easily affected by serving temperatures.

d-2. I have heard that the type of sake that is chilled is superior to the type that is warmed. Is this correct?

No. The traditional, premium Junmai-type sake is often enjoyed warm because warming draws out its complex and deep flavor. So while Junmai-type sakes can be enjoyed chilled, their real character shows best when warmed.


d-3. How do you chill sake?

Refrigerate it until it is chilled but not cold.


d-4. How do you warm sake?

First boil water in a pot and when boiled, remove it from the heat.  Fill a ceramic sake carafe (tokkuri) or a small, narrow-necked glass bottle with sake and dip it into the hot water for a few minutes, until it is warm but not hot (a temperature of about 105˚F).  Do not overheat the sake, and never boil it. Also, do not put the entire bottle into hot water; sake should be warmed only once before drinking.


How to warm Sake


d-5. Can you microwave sake?

Microwaving is not recommended. Gradual, even warming is necessary in order to preserve sake’s delicate flavor.  It is also safer to use the method of warming sake in a pot of hot water.  In a microwave oven the narrow neck of a sake carafe (tokkuri) or glass bottle can build pressure at high temperatures, posing the risk of injury to the user.


d-6. Can you mix sake with other alcohol drinks to make cocktails?

Because of its lighter alcohol level and versatile characteristics sake cocktails have become popular in recent years and new varieties are being introduced all the time. Unlike wine, with its tannins and acidity, sake’s subtle flavors mix well with and enhance the flavor other alcohols such as vodka and gin. (Please see sake cocktails recipes.)


d-7. What types of sake are recommended for cocktails?

ShochikuBai Classic, ShoChikuBai Extra Dry, ShoChikuBai Nigori have all been very popular.


d-8. Red wine is known for its health benefits. Does sake have health benefits?

To begin with, any alcoholic beverage drunk in excess will have harmful effects on the body, and drinking in moderation and responsibly is one of the keys to health maintenance. That said, sake does contain significant amounts of amino acids, and some of these amino acids are known to fight certain diseases.


d-9. How do you pair sake with foods?

Generally speaking, the rule of pairing of sake with foods can be best explored by considering the characteristics of the two fundamental sake types.


Junmai -type sake: With its full and complex flavors, enhanced by warming, Junmai-type sake is ideal with a wide variety of food, from delicate sushi to rich meat dishes. Different serving temperatures of the sake can also be tried, from slightly chilled to room temperature.


Ginjo type sake: Ginjo sake, produced with highly polished rice, has a clean and delicate flavor with a lingering sweetness. It is an excellent sipping drink, pairs well with light appetizers, and is sometimes enjoyed as a dessert wine. However, drinking Ginjo-type sake with dishes prepared with soy sauce or miso should be avoided. The rich Umami taste of these products will interfere with delicate Ginjo taste.

   
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