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Become A Sake Connoisseur: How To Make Kanzake (Hot Sake) At Home

How To Make Kanzake (Hot Sake) At Home; 4 Methods To Heat Up Sake And The Ultimate Guide Of A Sake Decanter Food & Recipes

Hello, winter! Hello, the Kanzake season!

Kanzake is the term for hot sake in Japanese, which refers literally enjoying drinking hot/warm sake.

As well as hot wine in European countries, the Japanese enjoy hot sake especially in the winter season to warm up our bodies.

Besides, Japanese sake changes its flavor depending on how to taste it in hot/warm/cold.

So, you can enjoy its different notes even from the same sake bottle.

Hot sake aka Kanzake is a classic way to enjoy sake, however, almost most sake is available in hot sake contrary there is a kind of sake that is not recommended to drink it in cold.

Although it’s better to make hot sake in a proper manner to provide the original perfect delicious taste without breaking the sensitive flavor, but, we often rush to sip hot sake using a microwave.

Yet, I am telling you today tips to make delicious hot sake at home including even how to microwave Japanese sake without changing the flavor.


Hot sake is often called “ATSUKAN”, to be precise, it refers to “warm sake” in that Japanese sake is heated at 50-55 C. (122-131F)

Kanzake is described as hot sake and there are 5 categories depending on each temperature level.

Moreover, this hot sake has a different flavor at each level.

HINATA-KAN30-35C (86-95F)
The temperature is almost room temperature,
not cold and warm
and have a faint aroma.
HITOHADA-KAN35-40C (95-104F)
Hitohada means human body temperature in Japanese.
As the name suggests, it is warm as the human body,
slightly lukewarm.
You can feel the mellow-round sweet aroma of rice and koji.
NURU-KAN40-45C (104-113F)
Warmer than Hitohada-kan,
the mellow-round sweet aroma of rice and koji.
JO-KAN45-50C (113-122F)
Warm sake with steam comes out when pouring.
A sharp strong aroma.
ATSU-KAN50-55C (122-131F)
You feel hot when touching a sake cup filled with hot sake.
A sharp strong aroma, taste dry.
TOBIKIRI-KANOver 55C (133F) Hotter than Atuskan.
A sharp strong aroma, taste dry.

Bringing sake to a warm, the flavor will be richer and the sharpness in the flavor will be rounded and become mild.

Therefore, you may save the sake that you don’t like much by making it hot sake.

How To Microwave Japanese Sake

Making hot sake in a microwave oven is easier to use than hot water baths, and also temperature control is easier.

As a guide to make ATSUKAN, microwave 3/4 cup of sake (“Ichigo”-180ml is the standard measurement system in Japanese sake) for 60-90 seconds with 500-watt power.

*For NURUKAN, microave 40-50 seconds with 500-watt power.

However, because the US standard microwave oven has an 800-1200 watt power range, you can finish microwaving the sake in a shorter time.

Sake Decannter

When using a sake decanter called “TOKKURI” in a microwave oven, make sure it is microwave-safe.

The cooking time deffers depending on the types of microwave oven and TOKKURI sake decanter.

As the guide to make ATSUKAN, microwave 3/4 cup of sake for 60-90 seconds with 500-watt power.

Microwaving sake often fails to warm the sake evenly.

Stir the sake with a cocktail spoon before pouring it into the sake cup.

If you want to be more meticulous, cover the top with plastic wrap and microwave it for 10-20 seconds, then, stir the sake with a cocktail spoon.

Continue to warm the sake up repeating this until your favorite temperature.

In another way, set the temperature higher than your favorite temperature, then, put the sake decanter in a water bath. Stir the sake once and wait for it’s cool down for about 20 seconds.

Mug Cup

Use a large mug cup since Japanese sake will expad as it heats.

Start microwaving the sake for 30 seconds to manage the temperature easily.

Stir the sake once then add 10 seconds each time until the sake temperature gets to your liking.

Also, cover the cup roughly with plastic wrap to keep the flavor and aroma.

How To Heat Sake In Boiling Water

No matter what, the best way to make hot sake is by heating the sake in a decanter with a hot water bath since it can evenly heat the sake and make the sake round and mild by cooking slowly.

How To Make Kanzake (Hot Sake) At Home; 4 Methods To Heat Up Sake And The Ultimate Guide Of A Sake Decanter

How To Heat Japanese Sake In Boiling Water

Rico McConnellRico McConnell
Servings 1 Serving


  • 1 Tokkuri Sake Decanter
  • 1 small-medium pot


  • ¾ cup Japanese sake


  • Pour the sake into a tokkuri sake decanter. Avoid filling the decanter to the brim since Japanese sake will expand as it heats.
  • Put the Tokkuri decanter in a small-medium pot and fill water to cover ¾ of the height of the decanter.
  • Remove the decanter and bring the water to a boil. Once the water boils, turn off the heat.
  • Gently place the sake decanter in the boiled water.
  • Let it sit for two to three minutes.

A kitchen thermometer is the best way to check out the temperature, but, you can know the finish by touching the bottom of the tokkuri decanter.

Cooking the sake and the water at the same time cause over-heat sake, so it is important to put the Tokkuri decanter after turning off the heat.

Touch the bottom and it will be ATSUKAN when feeling a little hot.

Special Sake Decanters For Hot Sake

If you want to enjoy more hot sake, these sake decanters will be enough attractive.

This cup is called “Chirori” which is made of a metal such as copper, titanium, and other materials for heating up sake.

Since it has high thermal conductivity, so it can quickly make hot sake in a hot water bath and also make the sake flavorful with a round mellow taste.

Especially, Chirori made of titanium is popular among sake connoisseurs since tin has antibacterial and tin ion effects which combine the complex flavor in the sake and make it more delicious.

By the way, I have Chirori made of stainless steel so a camping pot/cup made of aluminum or stainless steel may be a substitute for Chirori.


“Kantokkuri” (or kandokkuri) is a tokkuri decanter especially for enjoying hot sake on a table and provides an authentic luxury atmosphere like you are in a high-end ryotei/ kaiseki restaurant.

Simply, fill the boiled water in a warming bowl, insert a decanter and wait until the sake will set your favorite temperature.

A Unique Electric Sake Warmer

Besides, consider purchasing a unique electric sake warmer from Japan when you constantly enjoy hot sake (and/or with your family and friends. )

Never worry about overheating sake while serving on more occasions.

TWINBIRD Japanese Electric Sake Warmer

TWINBIRD sake warmer is unique and convenient which is nice for those who need a sake warmer at home.

You can make easily sake at your favorite temperature.

The negative points are the instructions are all in Japanese, taking arrival time since it will be delivered from Japan, and the electric power is 100V.

100v shouldn’t be a matter with 110-120V in the US, but, it is better to use a converter if concerned about it.

What Are The Label Said In Japanese On TWINBIRD Sake Warmer

Only you reading this article, (thank you very much!) I can translate the instructions on the sake warmer.

From the left to right,

  • A power indicator light (通電ランプ)
  • Hitohadakan (人肌燗)…the temprature at 35 C/ 95 F
  • Jokan (上燗)…the temprature at 45 C/ 113 F
  • Atsukan (熱燗)…the temprature at 50 C/ 122 F
  • Tobikirikan (飛切燗)…the temprature at 55 C/ 131 F

Free Instruction For TWINBIRD Sake Warmer

Use A Sous Vide

Well, it’s much more familiar to you to use a sous vide precision cooker.

Simply, set the temperature at 70-80 C (160-180 F), gently place the sake decanter, and heat the sale to your favorite temperature.

It is fine to use the ceramic tokkuri sake decanter to heat the sake, but also, using a heat-resident carafe made of glass is recommended since it is easy to manage the sake temperature.

(Chirori is also recommended of you have one.)

You don’t need to stir the sake when using the glass carafe and even it heats the sake evenly.

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