Drinking SAKE
There are many ways to warm SAKE. The best and most common way is to warm it in a TOKKURI, a small decanter, in a pan of hot water. The key point in warming SAKE is not to overdo it. You need to pay careful attention, as overheating will spoil the SAKE's flavor. Don't put the TOKKURI in boiling water. Rather, place it in a pan of warmed, not cold, water, and feel the TOKKURI's rim occasionally to judge when the right temperature has
been reached. With a little practice, you'll learn to judge the temperature by instinct.
You can drink SAKE either hot or cold. The taste of SAKE changes with temperature. You can choose the temperature which best matches the food or the season. The ideal temperature for SAKE also depends on the type of SAKE. For example, GINJO-SHU keeps its special flavor at a lower temperature.

What is the right temperature for SAKE? There are basically three levels for warm SAKE: lukewarm (about 35 degrees Celsius, about 95 degrees Fahrenheit ), warm (about 45 degrees Celsius, about 113 degrees Fahrenheit ), and hot (above 55 degrees Celsius, above 131 degrees Fahrenheit ). A popular temperature is HITOHADA (literally, "person's skin"), or body temperature. This is considered the ideal temperature for bringing out the full flavor of warm SAKE. GINJO-SHU is typically enjoyed cool or chilled. Many find a temperature of about 10 degrees Celsius (about 50 degrees Fahrenheit) best for GINJO-SHU.

As for cups, SAKAZUKI (sometimes called "CHOKO") are a good choice for warm SAKE. However, for cold SAKE, a small wine glass works well. Each person has his or her own favorite way of enjoying SAKE. Whether it is crisp, chilled SAKE, subtly warmed SAKE, or throat warming hot SAKE, we hope you will enjoy discovering your own personal favorite. There is one thing you should keep in mind. Because SAKE is so delicate, you should be careful not to expose it to strong light or high temperatures in storage. Keep your SAKE in a dark, dry, cool place. Also, once you have opened a bottle, we recommend that you finish it quickly.
One other point we should note is the Japanese custom of pouring for others. When you drink SAKE with others, pour for them when their cups become empty, and they will pour for you in return. You will find yourself doing this quite often if you use SAKAZUKI, because of the cups' small size. When someone pours for you, pick up your cup to make the pouring easier for your partner. This reciprocal service helps build a friendly atmosphere.
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