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Saki Hot Or Cold? [moved from Wine board]

Any recommendations...

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  1. I was told by the wait staff at Morimoto that heating up the sake, while an enjoyable way to drink it, can eliminate the flavor nuances and hide the character of the sake. They seemed to think that higher quality sake should be enjoyed chilled, like a white wine. I haven't had access to enough high quality sake to truly test this out, but theoretically it makes sense. Although there is something quite satisfying about the warm fuzzy feeling you get from hot sake.

    1. Are you asking whether to serve it hot or cold?

      Cheap sake, heat it if you like. Better sake, never, but not ice cold, either.


      1 Reply
      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        Anything in the daiginjo range of sake grade (a more tumbled rice grain) should always be served cold. The problem with sake is, unlike wine, there is no good inexpensive sake. You have to shell out the bucks for a chilled glass of sake if it's even going to be worth your while. That said, I still enjoy the urine-warm sake with some tepen yaki.

      2. How when it's cold out, and cold when it's hot!

        Seriously though, good sake should be cold. That's really why you never see "house sake" served cold!

        1. the hot stuff is generally the bottom of the barrel. they heat it to mask that it tastes terrible

          3 Replies
          1. re: MVNYC

            I think of heat as bringing out flavors, up to, say, 140 degrees, and cold numbing flavors. Why is cold sake supposed to bring out the flavor?

            1. re: amkirkland

              When you are talking about heat bringing out flavors, and 140 degrees, you must mean food. Wine, beer, and spirits don't react the same. Hot sake is only supposed to be heated to about body temp, max. 100 degrees F. Chilled sake isn't served cold, just chilled to around the same temp as you would serve white wine.

              Cheap hot sake is usually heated to 100-120 degrees which destroys a lot of the flavor, cooking it out.

          2. It still pains me to see people ordering the hot stuff in sushi restaurants.

            1. Sake was originally heated to hide woody and off flavors, that is, because it was rough. Now it is more refined. Some people like hot sake sometimes, but only cheap sake should be heated. There may be certain special varieties than will taste good slightly warmed, but most good sake is served chilled. Here's an expert on the subject with a great site about sake:

              1. Chilled good sake is the only way to go. My favorite way is to serve garnished with razor-thin sliced cucumbers as a garnish. This, of course, only applies to good sake as mentioned above.

                1. Cold, always.

                  there's nothing like a good cold nigorizake!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Diana

                    tell me more about this nigorizake. Is it a brand? What grade of sake is it? Expensive? Where can it be found?

                    1. re: PikeOuttaPlace

                      Nigori means unfiltered. They are usually a cloudy white with nutty tastes besides the regular flavors you find in premium sake.

                  2. I prefer it chilled most of the time and it's been years since I had hot sake.

                    Drink Premium sake always, and drunk cool to chilled in temp. 99% of the time. But a fine premium sake gently heated in the middle of winter can be nice. But there has to be snow on the ground or a very cold wet day.

                    John Gauntner, one of the top sake experts has some comments on this subject.

                    Inexpensive but good sake is available and can be drunk either way.

                    If it's really cheap sake the best thing you can do is water those ugly fern plants at the office with it. They will die and you will have gotten rid of two nasty things at once.

                    1. Good, chilled sake. Also love it with thin strips of cucumber floating. So fresh tasting.

                      1. LOL - they moved a sake thread from wine to beer....i'd always considered sake much more akin to wine.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: hitachino

                          Sake undergoes a mashing type process so it actually bears more resemblance to beer than wine.

                          But it has pretty much been marketed, at least in the U.S., as rice wine.

                          1. re: hitachino

                            There was a lengthy thread on site talk on whether sake belongs on the wine or beer board.

                          2. ack, i was just sayin'! :)

                            there are some beers that should be on the wine board, imho.

                            i'm pretty much a wine hater, and vinous beer is almost drain-worthy ;)