How To Heat Sake

by Benjamin Knopp

Benjamin Knopp

Co-founder of Kurashu and in charge of spreading the word on sake.


There are three ways that you can heat up sake, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. 

1. Heating Up Sake In A Hot Water Bath

Most professional sake establishments will heat up sake by immersing it in hot water, ideally at 80°C. While there are machines that are made especially for that purpose they are probably a bit large and pricey for home use.  

The easiest solution is simply heating up water in a pot. Get the water hot, but not boiling, and put a tokkuri (sake serving vessel) inside the hot water. Make sure that the flame is off, however, as you might otherwise break the tokkuri. 

Ideally you will also have a food thermometer to measure the temperature of the water (ideal at 80°C) and then later the sake itself.

Not sure how high to heat your sake? Check out our guide to sake temperatures.

A hot water bath can also be placed on your table to keep the sake warm

2. Microwave Your Sake

Microwaving sake in a tokkuri or other microwavable vessel in another option. While it might not be the most attractive way to heat up sake, it definitely is the easiest and quickest. 

We recommend microwaving sake in 30 second or 1 minute increments to get the desired temperature and then letting it stand for a minute or two. Because of the way a microwave works there will be spots which will be hotter than others and giving it some time will help them even out.  

Don't have a sake serving vessel, then check out this one from Amazon.

Most good sake establishments will warm sake up with specialized tools.

3. Open Flame or Direct Heat

Yes, you can heat up sake directly in a pan, but that is our least preferred method because the alcohol will volatize easily and you can quickly get the sake too hot. 

Another option is an inexpensive but attractive device that will keep the sake at a certain temperature, such as this one.

Whichever the case, make sure that the sake you’re heating up will taste good when hot. 

Not sure which sake to heat up? Read our guide on sake serving temperatures or check our sake’s product page for recommended temperatures.  

Some Sakes To Drink Warm!

Echigo Sekkobai Tokubetsu Junmai ¥1540

Ao-Mikan (Green Mandarin Sake) ¥1572

Suiryu Junmai Ginjo 2019 ¥1870

Kimoto No Dobu Nigori
¥1760


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