This summer is scorching. Haven’t you sake lovers had enough? You can’t enjoy sake if the heat is getting to you, which means that staying healthy is key…But there won’t be any lecturing about health today. We’ll introduce you to some delicious and refreshing reishu (chilled sake).
The Perfect Temperature
Reishu is Japanese sake that has been chilled in the refrigerator. Ginjoshu is best served at 8 °C to 12 °C (46 °F to 57 °F) and futsushu and jumaishu should be served at 6 °C to 8 °C (43 °F to 46 °F). Low temperatures make the taste and fragrance of sake uninteresting. For example, the colder ginjoshu is, the less distinctive the ginjoka (fruity scent) will be. But cold isn’t always bad. Decreasing the sweetness of junmaishu makes it perfect for the summer.
Sake has different names depending on the temperature it is served. Reishu is the best for summer. It is easily mistaken for hiya, which is also written using the Chinese character cold, but it is actually sake served at 20 °C (68 °F) or room temperature. The confusing name is linked to sake’s history. Sake that was not hot was called hiya back when there were no refrigerators.
Reishu is the one that is actually stored in the refrigerator. Even under the reishu category, there are different names for sake for certain temperatures.
Suzu hie is sake at about 15 °C (59 °F). Imagine a drink that has been taken out of the refrigerator and has been left on the counter for 5 to 10 minutes. The sake aroma can be truly appreciated and it tastes cool and fresh.
Hana hie is served at about 10 °C (50 °F). Sake is delicious at this temperature, as mentioned earlier. “Hana” means flower and “hie” means cold, referring to a temperature that even flowers would chill. The aroma is more subtle than suzu hie and it is silky.
The last one is yuki hie. “Yuki” means snow and as the name suggests, it refers to sake that is very cold at about 5 °C (41 °F). A clean taste is a result of suppressing the flavor and aroma.
Was it interesting to find out that sake has different names depending on the temperature it is served? And don’t you think their names are beautiful? Sake can be enjoyed with our eyes, nose, pallet, and expressions. It is an example of Japan’s beauty and depth.
We’re sure tonight’s drink will be a different experience learning what you read today.