If there’s one feature that describes the Japanese well, is their appreciation of natural beauty in everything. They also live their lives pursuing perfection and synchronicity in everything they do. Whether its business, work or pleasure, perfection is key.
The traditional cuisines are an extension of this attribute. From the way the food is cooked to the way it’s served and eaten, it’s all about doing it the right way. Sake set for example depicts a Japanese keenness in service of food and drink.
We all love this traditional Japanese wine but did you know that the fun is in the drinking experience?
What Is Sake?
Simply said, sake is a traditional Japanese drink that is made using fermented rice or best known as koji. Koji is just a rice malt or when you have yeast made from rice. So, the Japanese language refers to alcohol generally as sake.
There are places you will hear people referring to sake as wine but it’s different from wine. It’s all prepared differently from wine and it has a high volume of alcohol than wine and beer.
Just the same way the mention of Japanese cuisine brings sushi to mind, so does Japanese drinks bring sake to mind.
The Simple Way in Which Sake Is Made
Of course, making sake involves a whole lot of processes. But the simple procedure below makes you understand how it’s made.
- The first step is to grind your rice wash it then steam.
- You then take a portion of the steamed rice and make koji.
- The remaining steamed rice is mixed with water and the koji then left alone to ferment.
- They mostly then add more water, steamed rice and koji to influence the texture and flavor as it’s fermenting.
- You then filter the rice and bottle it.
Ultimately this brew is unique and compares to no other. Depending on the brewing and fermenting process of the sake, its quality will either be outstanding or just good. To influence its quality, you should always use more rice that is milled to give it that clear and delicate flavor.
Where Is Sake From
Although sake is a trendy drink today, the drink’s origin is unclear. In books that were published around 713AD, we have the mention of the Japanese drink that was made using rice. It saw its beginning when the Japanese began taking part in the wet rice cultivation back in the 3rd century.
It was a drink that was primarily used in imperial courts and large temples. The drink is mostly a religious drink that is used during festivals. It’s also part of the offerings made to the gods.
The Common Brands
Today, unlike centuries ago, the number of producers selling the Japanese sake has reduced to about 1600. This might be because of the change in lifestyle. The market is flooded with sake brands although most of those brands are small brands.
There are about 4 common brands of sake namely Hakkaisan, Kubota, Dewazakura and Dassai. Of all these the common brand you will find abroad are dassai brands and kankunko junmai daiginjo.
How to Choose a Sake Set
Regardless of whether you are looking for the set to use at home when you buy the drink or you would like to gift a friend who loves the Japanese sake beyond description, there are factors you must consider.
Note that the set normally comprises of the few same items. You have the decanter to pour your drink into from the bottle and you also have cups where you serve the drink into from the decanter. So, it’s a decanter plus sake cups. Below are the features to look for when buying the set.
Here the sizes vary although they are generally small. I see people amazed at the size of the sake cup but to me, its size is very close to the single tot of tequila glass. Remember, this drink has a rather high ABV content which is probably one of the reasons why it’s served in small portions.
Also, it was meant for festivals where there are many people to enjoy the drink together thus the unique glasses.
So which cups do you want?
Ochoko which is the smallest cup
Guinomi the medium cup
Sakazuki the cup with the wide mouth.
The decanter holds anything between 14 -16 Oz. In this case, you can also have the Masu which is a wooden box used for service.
Remember to check the size description of the set before settling for it.
For all I know, sake set like any other utensils is made using different materials and here it’s also a personal preference.
You can have glazed porcelain, glass, ceramic, plastic, clay or wood made set. Of course, all these materials are of high quality with the wood being able to impart its oak flavour in the sake if you like that.
It has different styles to appeal to different people from different regions of the world. You have the most popular sake set made of ceramic and this allows you to make different drawings on the outer surface.
Where do you intend to serve the sake?
This question is of important consideration. If you will serve your sake in the restaurant especially in the west then serving sake in a stemmed glass is more than okay. It still releases the sweet aroma of the sake.
If you are to use it during the various cultural festivals in Japan and other Asian countries, you need the sakazuku. It’s a flat saucer-like surface that comes with the set for stability when you are enjoying the drink.
If you will serve it at home, it’s okay to use the decanter and the guinomi cups. You then get to choose the material and colors that please you to choose.
N/B some of these features might look minuscular to influence the drinking of sake yet they have an impact on the taste of sake or so Japanese believe.
How to Serve Sake
Generally, you can drink the sake hot or cold. This is unique because it’s rare to find an alcoholic drink in the world that you drink hot.
The warm sake
Some people believe that if you served the sake hot, chances are that it would lose the aroma and flavors. Yet there are those who like it hot. Being the only alcohol beverage in the world serving hot, I would be curious to taste it.
Nevertheless, the ideal temperature for serving warm sake is at 120 or 130˚F.
The cold sake
There are those who love drinking the sake in an over-chilled form but at this level for me, like the very hot version, it loses its taste.
Nonetheless, there are people who will want it chilled. I always advise that you drink it at 50˚F.
Note that It’s okay for you to drink it as you like it hot, crisply chilled, warm or just cold, it’s all about preferences.
With that said, you realize that the sake will be served at your desired temperature. But there are brands like gingo-shu and namazake that require you to serve them chilled.
Here is how to serve it
- It’s the duty of the host to take the decanter that has the sake then serve every cup of his or her guests before his own. You must also hold the decanter with both hands as you pour into the cups.
- You can hold the decanter with one hand and serve into the cups if you are a person of high stature than your guests.
- The guest then takes it upon themselves to ensure their host is also served.
- As for the person being served, you hold your cup with a single right hand wrapping around the cup.
- However, if the person serving the drink is of high stature then bring your other hand to the palm of the right hand that is wrapped around your sake cup.
- You then toast it Japanese style by saying kenpaibefore bringing the cups together and proceeding to drink.
- But, not so fast, take a small sip and let it stay in your mouth for a minute as you savor the taste and aroma before swallowing.
- If you want to be served some more, hold the cup slightly out and when served, remember to return the favor to your other friends.
How to Warm Sake
How to warm the sake in a microwave
The nature of the microwave is such that it increases its heat rapidly and reaches a very high level. This is not the ideal method of making your sake hot. However, if you must use a microwave, follow the procedure below.
Before you begin heating, place a plastic wrap on the mouth of the decanter.
Assuming you have a 180 ml bottle of the decanter, heating it for about 40 seconds will give you roughly 104˚F. Note that, this temperature will vary at the top and bottom of the decanter.
Therefore, after about 20 seconds you can take the bottle from the microwave and swirl it to maintain a steady temperature then take it back to the microwave for the last 20 seconds.
Increase the heating time as you wish to achieve your drink’s ideal temperature.
If you are out with friends and are taking spicy food or even sushi, this drink should be your best preference.
Best Sake Set
Made in Japan
Made in Japan, this set comes with one decanter and four cups for your massive enjoyment. It features a ceramic material that is safe to use. Mind you this product is made at Mino area which is the hub for the ceramic production center.
Within it, is a rust red color that is then complemented with a brown glaze for the perfect exterior finish. Its bottle holds the ideal 14 OZ of sake then the cups hold 2 oz of sake. It’s not by chance that among the best sellers on Amazon as it features the traditional style of sake set.
Whether or not it’s a microwavable choice is a question yet to be answered by the manufacturers. However, this is a perfect give or set to use for your sake enjoyment.
For some reason, I love this set as well. I love its outer glasslike shiny surface. With this color and design, you find yourself a set so neutral to fit into any home decoration. Moreover, the serving and enjoying your sake is fun and easy.
Made of ceramic, the item is durable when handled with care. It’s color designs bring you closer home. The item is said to be dishwasher safe but it’s best to wash it by hand if you want it to stay for long.
It’s also microwave-safe thus the ideal item for use by those who enjoy the hot sake. Talk of elegance and beauty, this item comes to enhance your interior decors while offering you a durable service.
Authentic Japanese sake set
With this sake set, you can enjoy your sake both at home and when you have those festivals. Featuring one decanter and 4 cups, you get to have either warm or cold sake with your friends. It’s the icon of beauty and elegance.
With its blue and white decoration, most people are unable to resist the charm that calls them to buy it. It features a high-quality porcelain material for enhanced quality and wonderous craftsmanship in place. Apart from being high-quality item its safe to use as it’s made using the safe porcelain.
If you want your drink hot, you can heat it in a hot water bath and if you like your drink cold, you still get to enjoy this set. The cups are ideally small but easy to hold when you are having your drinking parties.
It uses the raku glaze design to bring out the set’s natural features.
4. Hand-made Natural Wooden Sake Cup
If you are anything like me looking for the natural way of living and eating food then these cups are a must-have for your sake drink. Made using wood the cups are simple yet elegant in design and eco-friendly.
I often enjoy wood cookware and utensils because of their ability to infuse the extra oaky flavor to my meal. The best part is that the cups are handmade to ensure a balance of beauty and service is reached.
They are further easy to care for and clean. They will stay with you for many years to come as they are durable. Don’t only serve the sake in it, if you don’t like sake you can use it for water and tea. whether the beverages are hot or cold, this item stays safe to use.
I’m never a fan of plastic items because of the question of safety but this caught my attention. They are tiny little pieces but what’s even better is that you don’t have to re-use them, just dispose of.
They are economical and great for toasting. I like them when having large parties to save my china from breakage.
A sake set with warmer
Drinking sake has never been more fun, this set comes with a single carafe, a warmer, the cup for warming the sake and 4 cups for the service of sake. It’s glazed in ceramics to enhance its durability.
You no longer have to worry where you will heat your sake because it comes with the warmer. The set features diligently handmade sake set for uniformity in service. Although you may have a variation in color, it’s no big deal because it works the same.
For hot sake
Are you looking for a sake set that will keep your sake hot? Look no further.
Each magic is in the base of this set that is insulated. The ceramic surface will keep your drink or sauces hot for up to 40minutes. You can then take the silicon base into the microwave and let it heat for a minute before you slide it back under the decanter.
This keeps your sake warm or hot for another 40 minutes. The item is also dishwasher safe. For me. the color is even better it keeps you wanting some more sake.
For cold sake
Cheers to a stylish design of cold sake set. The decanter is large enough to serve the cups and still remain with some more sake inside. Talk of elegance, the set will fit any kitchen design and decoration.
The set made using the high-quality ceramics gives it an ornamental look and functional durability. The set is hand painted and although it states that it’s a cold sake set, you can place the decanter in the microwave when you need the drink to warm up.
Made using porcelain
By now you may have realized that there are so many porcelain sake sets. But this is just one of the best in the market. It features a cute set of a decanter and 4 cups with great design to live on your dining table ready for the sake service.
Glass sake set
This features a unique glass design of sake set that is best used to serve cold sake. The set is made using the high-quality borosilicate glass. For efficiency and effectivity, you place the decanter on the coaster base for enhanced stability.
If you want your sake cold, fill the decanter with ice cubes to remain chilled or with warm water to assume the ideal temperature during the different season. Both the decanter, coaster and the cups are easy to use and clean.
For more uniqueness, this glass set assumes the shape of a drop of water for the ancient feel.
11. Dragon Sake set on white
The dragon set signifies power and potent. This Japanese-made set is just white in color with the dragon painting in blue. It comes in a set of 5 pieces and is ideal for use in your microwave to keep your drink warm.
We have seen quite a number of ceramics made sake sets. This set features the high-quality hand painting on the outer surface. Its decanter has a bottled mouth design to makes sure your water doesn’t leak.
The item is baked in high temperature making it non-slip, fade-free, safe to use dishwasher-safe and eco-friendly to use. The item is as easy to use as it is to clean it.
Talk of a modern design of sake set with a unique teardrop shape. This item is made in Japan and it features the ceramic material to make the white sake set. The sharp end of the teardrop decanter makes pouring the sake easy.
It’s further a nonslip design that will keep both your hot and cold sake. Featuring a set of two cups and a decanter, you would use this set to serve the drink to your friends or give it out as a gift.
Chinese sake set
Sake being a drink loved across Asia the Chinese also make high-quality sake set. This design features a white ceramic material with the paintings featuring the characters of China. You can safely place your decanter in the microwave or hot water for the hot sake drink.
It’s further easy to clean by hand or in a dishwasher. The set is unique and would act as a great gift for your friends on special occasions because of the charters meaning.
I’m sure you know that sushi is best served with sake. This set is at a budget-friendly price offering you 2 sushi plates, sake set for four, chopsticks and soy sauce dishes. This is a whole meal set.
It features the perfect design of a tall black squared decanter and pink dragonfly images that nicely blends with the sushi plate.
The item is lacquered to give it that unique finish that is eye-catching.
Last on the list is the white set of the high-quality sake set from M.V trading. For most people, white things show cleanliness or they send the message of peace and love. This would act as a great gift to your loved ones.
Made using ceramic for durability, you can use the item at home or in the restaurant. It features a 9-piece set which is ideal for partying with family and friend. You can use it for serving different alcohol beverages although it’s mostly meant for sake.
There are so many high-quality sake sets as you may have noticed. You get to choose the item depending on the material, size and style that you love.