Ask Beau - "I keep forgetting to warm my sakes because I enjoy them chilled. Why should I warm sake?
One of sakes greatest assets is often the most forgotten. Of all the libations out there sake is by far the temperature leader, and yet most consumers focus on chilled sake. Name one other alcohol that you can enjoy frozen, cold, chilled, room temperature, gently warmed, warmed, heated, and hot! You can't, because there isn't another libation out there that has such a diverse spectrum of ways to enjoy it. Sake is the exception, and that is why it is time to remember the strengths of warming your brews.
So why warm sake? Other than the obvious point that warming certain sakes brings out new flavors and textures in a brew, the other strength of heated sake is that it's just that - heated! Warm sake warms you up on cold nights. It is extremely cold in Japan for long periods of the year and warm sake is cherished to act as that warming touch. Hot sake is enjoyed at natural hot springs, like beer is enjoyed at ball games. Warming sake brings out inner warmth.
Another amazingly important fact about warmed sake is that it pairs better with certain cuisines. Are you having hot soups or stews this winter? Why have a cold beverage with a hot dish? Cold sake with soup is okay, but warmed sake and hot soup is a great match. Hearty stews and cold sake work pretty well, but hot sake and hearty stews have a wonderful coupling effect. Temperature is indeed important, and no other booze has this heat sensitive advantage for pairing with your favorite winter foods.
Lastly, are you thinking about all of that crappy jet-fuel flavored hot sakes from your drinking past? Yes, they did indeed taste like butane or lighter fluid, because more often than not those brews were made cheaply in the US. The general rule with inferior sake is to heat it up to mask the rough flavor of the brew. But ask yourself, have you ever tasted a sake that was made to be warmed for the flavor and the feeling rather than to mask the flavor? Have your ever tried a premium warmed sake? You will be amazed how much better good sakes taste when warmed. Bad sake that is heated makes for bad hot sake. Good sake that is heated makes for a great drinking experience.
We have a bevy of great warming sakes in the store - give it a try!
Please send your sake specific questions to askbeau2 @ truesake.com. (This address is not for general questions and I only review the questions once per month. All other correspondence should use info @ truesake.com.)