Reizake, Kanzake … The taste of sake that changes with temperature.

The taste of Japanese sake changes with temperature.

Japanese sake is a beverage whose taste and aroma change depending on the temperature. Some sake are suitable for Kanzake (hot sake), and on the contrary, some sake is better served as Reizake (cold sake).

Today, we will introduce the changes in flavor of sake depending on the temperature so that you can find your favorite way of drinking sake.

The different types of “temperatures” in which sake are served.

There is no rule for sake to be “cold in the hot in summer months” or ” hot sake during the cold winter seasons”. Of course, you can enjoy changing the temperature according to the season, but it is best to drink in the way you like and the way you drink the sake.
Sake shows a different flavor profile when the temperature is changed. Even if you usually drink sake at a fixed temperature, try enjoying the many flavors of sake by changing the temperature of sake.

There are three basic ways to drink sake. Hiyazake (Cold Sake), jyoosake (Normal Sake)  and Kanzake ( Hot Sake)


“Hiyazake” is made by chilling sake in the refrigerator and drinking it in a cold state. You can also pour it into a glass of ice and drink it on the rocks. The temperature range is about 5 to 15 degrees Celsius.

The cooler the liquor, the more subdued the aroma and the easier it is to drink. This is probably the reason why some people say, “I cant drink kanzake, but I can go for Hiyazake.”

Cold sake is characterized by a refreshing drinkability. Therefore, it can be said that it is a suitable way to drink sake with a refreshing taste, such as ginjo sake that you can enjoy the aroma, raw sake, and raw stored sake.

Joon/ohiya (room temperature/slightly cold sake)

“jyoon sake/ohiya” is sake whos temperature is 20 to 25 degrees and is drunken without cooling or warming.

Sake at room temperature has a pleasant taste, and you can appreciate the original taste of the sake. The temperature of the sake will slightly differ depending on the season, being a little cool in the winter and a little lukewarm in summer.

There are many sakes that are suitable for room temperature. Some good ones are Junmaishu and Ginjoshu  which can be enojoyd deliciously at room temperature.

Kanzake (Hot Sake)

“kanzake” is sake that you drink in a hot state. It is generally heated in a water bath or microwave oven, and the temperature range is around 30 to 55 degrees Celsius.

The charm of Kanzake is that you can fully demonstrate the power of sake. The aroma spreads with steam, and you can enjoy the delicate taste and deep richness that you can not get with cold sake or room tempeture sake.

Sake with a strong taste, such as Junmaishu and Honjozoshu, is said to be suitable for Kanzake.

Choosing a sake with a temperature that matches the food

Chosing the right temperature sake for your dish can impove the taste of you entire dish as well. You can expect a synergistic effect of taste by choosing a dish according to the temperature of sake or changing the temperature of sake according to the dish.

“Matching the temperature” is one of the points to match sake and food. For example, cold sake can be used as a refresher by cooling it to reduce its aroma. Therefore, it is recommended to combine it with chilled sashimi or dishes that make the best use of the raw ingredients.

Room temperature sake is easier to serve because you can   without worrying about the temperature of the dish. Even if you combine it with cold snacks or warm side dishes, you can bring out the flavor of both.

Kanzake is characterized by its warmth and deep richness. You can take a break with warm dishes such as oden and

 hot pot dishes, or you can enjoy a deeper taste with deep-seasoned dishes such as boiled fish to depthen the flavor.

Please try to find your favorite combination.