Best Way of Warming Up Sake. Let’s Try “Kan”.

Sake is a liquor we can enjoy with any temperature. In winter and autumn, you must try “kan”, which means “sake warming”. In this article, I will briefly introduce how to do a kan.

If you want to know more general matters about sake, please check “Sake. Small Tips to Enjoy Nihonshu

Temperature of Sake

Name of warmth of sake changes depending on its temperature like shown in below table.

When we just say “kan”, usually it means “Jou Kan” or “Nuru Kan”.

Sake changes the character of its taste according to its temperature, and when it reaches to “Atsu Kan” temperature or hotter, it will get very (or, too much) dry taste.

Researches tell us drinking Atsu Kan stimulates your stomach and esophagus as strong as drinking distilled liquor. So my recommendation is to enjoy it with temperatures up to Jou Kan. And, it depends on sake brands, but my favorite is Hitohada Kan.

How to Warm Up Sake

Now, let’s check how to do a kan.

The most common way of warming sake is to use boiling water. I think it is the best because we can warm it up gradually and it’s easy for us to stop warming at the best temperature we like.

Step 1:  Put Sake Into a Bottle.

If you have a tokkuri, let’s use it. Any other bottles which we can put into a pot is OK. Recommended size of the bottle is 1 go to 2 go (180ml to 360ml).

Important thing is to put sake in the bottle up to 70% to 80% of it’s capacity. If you fill it up to the top, your precious sake will be overflown as the volume will increase after warmed up.

Step 2: Put Water into a Pot “Before Boiling”

There are two important things in this step.

  1. You first put sake bottle in the pot, and pour water to decide the volume.
  2. More then 50% of sake bottle has to be soaked in the water. Would be the best if it’s more than 70%,

50% of the bottle is soaked in the picture.

Step 3: Boil the Water

Please boil the water thoroughly. If not it takes too much time to do a kan.

Step 4: Put the Bottle in the boiled water

Put the pot off the stove. And then put the bottle into the hot water.

Step 5: Just Wait.

In this article case, I put 1.5 go (270ml) of fridge cooled sake in the tokkuri. 50% of the bottle was under the water. And it took 5 mins to become almost 50 °C.

Step 6: Enjoy It.

You don’t need to be nervous to aim an exact temperature. Checking it little by little on your tongue and find your best temperature.

In doing so, please refer to above steps for your reference, and may be the easiest is to use a thermometer just like me. We can find the ones specialized for sake as well. I’m considering to buy myself the right one.

Other Ways of Warming Sake

We can also do a kan by using a microwave oven, and there are several types of specialized tools as well. I will introduce once I try those other techniques.

Check Also


  • Web site of Kikusui Co., Ltd. A sake maker. Unfortunately kan is explained only in Japanese site.

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