HOME >> Sake Basics >> Tasting Tips ▶ Temperature
Japanese sake is among only a handful of alcoholic beverages from around the world that are often heated before being consumed. Ginjo-shu and daiginjo-shu are most delicious when slightly chilled to maintain a fine balance between their flavor and aroma. Other varieties of sake taste best when served warm or hot. When warmed to the ideal temperature, these varieties go well with food and are easy on the constitution too. It's amazing how different the same sake tastes depending on whether it’s served hot or cold.
The finer the sake, the more sensitive it is to temperature. In Japanese there is an entire nomenclature to describe sake’s various serving temperatures.
The best temperature to serve a particular sake is usually indicated on the label.
What's nice about drinking sake warm is that it produces a mild lingering "buzz" faster than it would if served cold. That means you can enjoy it to the fullest while drinking it in moderation.
By the same token, there are some types of sake that taste best when served chilled. The highly aromatic ginjo-shu is best served cold or simply hinata-kan, that is “sun bathed" to about 85°F, to avoid upsetting the delicate balance between its fine bouquet and flavor by overheating. Gen-shu and namazake are also most enjoyable when chilled. Junmai-shu tastes great both warmed as well as at room temperature but it's also just as delicious when served nice and cold.
Served at room temperature, warm, hot, chilled, ice-cold or iced, Japanese sake can be enjoyed in myriad ways. Try them out yourself and discover which you think is best!