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Hot Sake – Sake 101 “Do It Yourself Hot Sake 3-Pack!”

Hot Sake 101 January 2016 A

What’s the difference between talking about warm sake and actually tasting warm sake? The buzz silly! Just kidding. Well sort of! I thought that since it was so cold out it would be fun to put together a little at home warming sake sampling. What better way to show you the different expressions of hot sake? You can try three different brews at several different temperature points to really get an understanding what people look for in a heated sake.

Sadly, a few of you are blowing right by this section! “I don’t like hot sake!” Bam! And you’re gone. That’s entirely too bad, and I’d love for you to give heated sake a second chance. I mean that! And I am also very confident that today’s sakes for warming are not your grandmother’s sakes! Ha! I always wanted to type that! Seriously though. There is an entirely new bevy of sakes that are superb for warming, and they are the antithesis of the hot crap that you are used to getting in cheap sushi restaurants.

What do YOU think of when you say “hot sake”? Heated jet fuel? Hot Liquid Plumber? Over-heated nail polish remover? Yuck! Poor you! You poor sake soul! Hot sake is not that! Crappy sake makes hot crappy sake! Get it? That’s the reason they heat it! Or overheat it in most cases. To mask the flavor of crappy sake! What you are tasting is piping hot alcohol! And guess what? Some folks like that! I don’t! I do like the flavor of good sake that is warmed or heated to a level where the brew still tastes like sake and the warmth puts a glow in my palate. Warm sake is therapeutic as well as tasty!

Hot Sake January 2016 B

Why is hot sake magical? Because it works! For one thing “folks” say that you get buzzed quicker drinking warm sake. That’s cool! I mean that’s hot! Secondly warm sake feels great in your body on a cold snowy or rainy night. It’s like a liquid blanket that coats your soul and makes you glow with warmth and wonder. Also, warm sake is an entirely different expression of sake and many more flavors and feelings emerge when the brew is warmed. Good warm sake brings a new depth to rice and water. Flavors that you can never taste in chilled sake emerge when heated, and that is why sake is the most amazing of all the libations. Sake has the greatest temperature spectrum of all the boozes out there and warmed sake is the hidden gem.

Lastly, warm sake is an amazing food pairing partner. If you are having soups or stews, why mess around with a cold sake? Go warm with warm! Your palate and stomach both harmonize when the broth and sake are warm, and that is when your starch-based beverage works the greatest wonders with salty, savory, oily, earthy, fishy, veggie, fowly, soups and stews. Warming sake is a way to warm your heart! And that is why they offer hot sake when you visit the heated volcanic underground water “hot baths” in Japan. Warm water and warm sake!

So let’s get started!

Sake 101 “Do It Yourself Hot Sake 3-Pack!” $30 For The Three Bottle Set!

1) Suigei “Drunken Whale” Tokubetsu Junmai SMV: +7 ($14/300ml)

  • Say Hello to a “white wine” drinkers warming sake that is dry! This clean, light, and dry Junmai is a good example of a brew that warms with a hint of fruit tones! When you heat this sake it’s a good example of how a brew stays clean and even. Some hot dry sakes go “boozy,” but not the drunken whale and that is why this is a good sake for heated exploration. Does well with cleaner and lighter soups and is a hot tub favorite!

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2) Seko “Ninja” Tokubetsu Junmai SMV: +3 ($11/300ml)

  • Now say hello to that big red wine drinker’s warming sake that speaks to all the people who like those forest floor flavors. This sake is the perfect example of a full-bodied brew that warms so well that the balance is actually enhanced. Earthy, smooth and viscous this chewy and musky sake warms into a soft fluid that glides through the palate. Void of boozy or jet fuel tones Ninja is a celebration of a warming sake that takes you to a new level of flavor and feeling in a sake that pairs extremely well with big flavored stews and hearty soups.

Kenbishi “Black Pine” Honjozo SMV: + 0.5 ($11/180ml)

  • And finally say hello to one of the top warming sakes in Japan. Why? Because it is a smooth and rich Honjozo that is velvety in the palate, especially when warmed. This is it! This is a rich rice brew that has a gentle sweetness and hints of nougat and marshmallow. When warmed an almost amber flavor comes with the heat creating a very special rich and welcoming flavor that eases down the palate. Kenbishi should be tried at some point in your warming ventures, and the special 180ml is specifically made to put in a bath of warm water. This will shatter your “I don’t like hot sake” ways and if you really sneak a peek there is a vein of earthy mushroom that comes forth at the perfect temperature, which you must find! Get to work!

I totally recommend trying all three sakes together! And I would go in the order listed above. Make sure to drink the sakes out of the same size “O-choko” or small sake cup! Explore! Explore! And explore some more! Try each sake at room temperature then warmed from luke warm to hot! This is the best way to feel hot sake the way it is supposed to feel – warm and wonderful!

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