Sake, a Japanese rice wine, is growing in popularity in the U.S. because its rice and water ingredients are attractive to the health conscious and it is being touted as a great drink to have with fresh seafood and light meals containing meats. Americans are switching or replacing some of their wines with sake as their staple for evening drinks and the trend is on the rise. It is an acquired taste and should be tried at both temperatures, warm and cold.



Pour the sake into a Tokkuri to serve. A Tokkuri is usually white small carafe-looking serving pitcher. Place the Tokkuri into a bowl of hot water to warm the sake.

Warm the sake to body temperature and not above 104 F degrees. If drinking sake at a restaurant, it may be warmer so that it will stay warm until the last cup. Expensive and delicate sake can and should be served and drank chilled as warming them can harm the drink. You know that you have heated the sake too hot when you can smell the alcohol rising from it.

Fill guest’s cups, called Ochoko, first and then your own if your guests don’t fill yours, as is traditional. The Ochoko are small cups with no handle also usually white. Chilled sake is more often served and drank in glass Tokkuris and Ochokos.

Say “Kampei” or “Cheers” before you and others take your drinks. You may find yourself saying this often and louder as you drink more sake.

Sip the sake; don’t gulp it. It is potent and your throat and stomach will thank you later for not shooting it down like a shot.

Pour a few ounces of sake over ice in a tall glass, then fill with orange juice for a different type of screwdriver. The sake should be high end as you will be drinking it iced.