How do you heat sake?

In Japan, heating up Japanese Sake is called ‘Okan suru’ and Japanese Sake served warm is called ‘Kanzake’. This uniquely Japanese method of heating sake has a long history and which dates back over 2,000 years.

By heating sake, you are able to enhance and experience the complex flavours in the beverage. These flavours can spread across the palate, giving a deep, full-bodied flavour when swallowed. It can be fun to experiment with different temperatures to experience these different tastes, and to see what temperatures you like sake to be served.

If you enjoy your sake warm, or even hot, here are two ways you can heat up your sake without it losing its aroma!

  • Heating up in a body of water
    1. Fill the sake decanter till it is 90% full then cover the mouth with plastic wrap to prevent the aroma from escaping
    2. Ready a pot or bath of hot water
    3. Fill it with water and place the Sake decanter in the water
    4. Adjust the level of the water so that approximately half of the sake decanter is immersed
    5. Remove the Sake decanter and place the pot on the stove to boil, then turn off the heat
    6. Once you have turned off the heat, place the Sake decanter in the water
    7. Remove the Sake decanter from the water when the Sake rises to the mouth of the decanter
    8. Place your finger on the bottom of the Sake decanter and if it feels relatively hot the temperature of the Sake should be just right

 

  • Heating up using a microwave
    1. The temperature in a microwave increases rapidly therefore it is not really recommended for preparing hot sake
    2. However if you have to use a microwave place plastic wrap around the mouth of the Sake decanter before heating
    3. Heating 180ml of Sake takes approximately 40 seconds (at 600W)
    4. When using a microwave oven the temperature at the top and bottom of the Sake decanter will vary. This can be resolved by removing the decanter after 20 seconds and swirling the Sake to achieve a consistent temperature, then placing it back in the microwave and continue heating until you reach your desired temperature.

 

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