Some people have a black and white opinion about hot sake – it’s only for cheap sake they say. While true that warming sake will round out rough edges and masks the flaws of cheap sake, premium brewers often make some of their sake with the intention of it being drunk warm and these brews can in fact be delicious and open up quite nicely when warmed.

On cold nights, warm sake (kanzake) is really a no brainer … warm sake will always be better while you are still dusting off the snow.


  • Fill a tokkuri with sake. A tokkuri is shaped like a vase or carafe. The narrow neck prevents heat escaping too quickly.
  • Put your tokkuri in a pot of cold water to measure how much water to fill the pot. Once placed inside the pot the fat bulb of the tokkuri should sit below the water so that the sake heats up evenly. Take your tokkuri out of the pot.
  • Boil the water and take it off the boil. The water temp should be just under 100°C.
  • Put your tokkuri or sake bottle into the pot immediately.
  • Use a stopwatch to measure the time
  • For 40°C sake … you should see small bubbles slowly come to the surface of the sake
  • For 50°C sake, bubbles should quickly come to the surface of the sake