Sake Q & A

By Yuji Matsumoto

1. Cold or Hot
Many people think that high quality sake should be enjoyed chilled, but that is wrong. Compared to not needing to worry about the temperature for the better quality sakes, it is better to really chill the poor balanced sakes on the contrary. For one guideline, if it is a refreshing sake that has a flower or fruit type aroma, it’s better to chill them to enjoy the clean cut taste and aroma. On the contrary, for the dry sake with the fermented taste of rice or aroma of sourness etc it’s better to warm it to bring out the fullness of it and seemly make it taste delicious.

2. Which Sake is Better?
Which sake you like changes if the food you like regularly is rich or light so there is no exact answer, but I feel there is a tendency that someone that likes full body red wine will probably like a Junmai Kimoto or Honjozo type sake and someone that likes a young, fruity chardonnay will like a Daiginjo of Niigata prefecture type sake. Matching with the food is extremely important and if you don’t particularly care for drinking the sake by itself, you might make a surprising discovery if you have it with a particular dish so I ask if you will give a try.

3. Tasting Method
Same as wine, drink it while sipping in air. Choose a glass for white wines type, pouring a small amount and lightly mixing it with air is important. If the temperature of the sake is too low it becomes hard to distinguish the aroma so you can slightly warm it with both hands in that case.

4. Drinking Cup
Not only for sake but for wines or beers, it’s amazing that the taste can drastically change depending on the glass. If you want to enjoy the taste and especially the aroma, a small white wine glass is good. For hot sake, so the steam of the alcohol is not smothering, a ceramic type with a slightly large mouth that holds the temperature is good. A wooden square doesn’t go well with aromatic Ginjo types but for sakes with definite body like Junmai types, you can enjoy them with the aroma of Cypress. Please enjoy cold or at room temperature if you have it that way.


1. 冷か燗か

2. いいお酒はどれ

3. テイスティング方法

4. 飲む器