Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association | JSS

Basic How to Serve Sake

An integral part of enjoying sake is to understand how to serve sake. Sake is commonly served in specific cups and vessels that are made of a variety of materials. Also, certain cups and vessels are used for different occasions. For example, chilled sake is often served in glass cups. These cups and vessels provide an additional range of colors to the table, just like the accompanying food. In addition, sake is a drink that acts as a vehicle of communication when drinking in groups in Japan. Therefore, understanding basic sake etiquette is a key part of enjoying it.


Temperature influences how sake tastes. In other words, different flavor characteristics can emerge from the same sake depending on the serving temperature. Learn how to prepare sake for each temperature range and enjoy the changing properties of the beverage.

Serving Temperature

There are three main serving temperature categories: chilled, room temperature, and warmed. In addition, you can savor the changing characteristics as the chilled sake warms up or warmed sake cools down.

  • Chilled (8~15℃)

    Chill the bottle in a refrigerator and serve immediately.
    Flavor characteristics: Light and crisp, fruity aroma, slightly viscous.

  • Room Temperature (15~25℃)

    Keep the bottle out of a refrigerator and serve as is.
    Flavor characteristics: Subtle and smooth, modest aroma.

  • Warmed (40~50℃)

    See below on the methods to warm sake.
    Flavor characteristics: Fuller flavor, cereal fragrance, less viscous.

How to Warm Sake

There are two main methods to heat sake; in hot water and with a microwave.

  • Hot Water Method

    ・Heat water until just before boiling.
    ・Pour sake into a sake vessel.

    Stop the heat and immerse the vessel up to its neck. Let it warm for about a minute or until the desired temperature.

  • Microwave Method

    Pour sake into a sake vessel. Microwave it for about 45 seconds to 1 minute, or until the desired temperature. Stir to even out the temperature before serving.

Basic Guide


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