Sake is a versatile drink that you can enjoy hot, chilled or at room temperature. Though tradition dictates some of the guidelines to follow when you serve sake, you can be as unconventional in your serving of sake as you like-as long as it increases the enjoyment of this ancient drink.



Know the temperature that brings out the best bouquet in the sake variety you’re serving. Many high-end sakes taste good hot, at room temperature or chilled, and so can complement any gathering.

Use an earthenware sake pitcher and small earthenware cups to serve hot sake in a traditional manner. The earthenware pitcher holds the heat of the sake long enough for you to enjoy it, and the earthenware cups protect your hands. You can buy sake sets at Asian markets and gourmet stores, and can also find them online at stores like Asian Art Mall.

Present chilled or room temperature sake in a wooden sake set to follow tradition. Be aware, though, that the aroma of the wood can interfere with the pure flavor of the sake and so might not be the best choice for especially subtle sake. Wooden sake sets are less common than earthenware sets, but you can find them in the same places as earthenware sets and also at online stores like Bugei.

If there’s a pitcher on the table, hold it in both hands when pouring. When you receive sake, hold your cup with one hand and lightly support the bottom with your other hand. Maintaining this traditional etiquette draws the group together and creates a social bonding atmosphere.

Pour chilled or room temperature sake into stemware, preferably young white wine glasses, to fully appreciate its bouquet and appearance. You can savor it just like any fine wine.

Create and serve cocktails by substituting sake for the liquor that’s usually used. Explore Asian-influenced garnishes such as pickled ginger for a saketini, or sake martini.