This autumn, I would like to also include an Atsukan type sake ( 熱燗) from Fukui Prefecture called Kokuryu. Some of you who have been following my previous ramblings know I come back to this sake quite often. I like Kokuryu for its overall balance and plain old good taste.
The thing I like most about hot sake is the face twisting first sip. If it's fresh out of the pot you get that alcohol right in the nose on the first sniff, and then the smooth finish down the hatch.
In my L.A. days, hot sake was all people used to drink. It's because most sake was either old or poorly brewed stuff - cheap stuff. Plus, hot sake was cheaper than the premium brews, like Kubota. Those were some great memories for me.
I remember the first time I drank a chilled sake was back in the late 90s when I was at a restaurant called Shibucho in downtown L.A., which at that time was the best sushi place in town - still is from what I've heard. The master is a traditionalist at heart, so you can't miss it if you are in L.A. Can't believe that restaurant is located in an urban ghetto.
Tonight's sake is a Daiginjo-shu, or super premium sake. On a personal note I would normally never drink a super premium sake hot! But, some people do. I think you loose a lot of the flavor characteristics that make this class of sake great when you heat it.
The best way to warm sake is to use an electric hot water pot, this way you can control the temp. better. In the above photo you can see how I placed the sake in my hot water machine and then heated. I was very pleased with these results. If you want an experts opinion on warming sake then I suggest you head over to Ichibay's very informative site.
So cheers, and have a sip of warm sake at your next sake tasting event.