Enjoy your sake with the best sake warmers [top 6 reviewed]
It’s pretty common in Japan to drink very hot (atsukan) or warm (nurukan) sake.
The process of heating sake is called Okan suru, and the resulting warm drink is Kanzake.
The fermented rice drink (it’s basically a rice wine) is delicious when heated to the right temperature.
When heated, you can taste the complex flavors of good sake. But, to avoid heating up the alcohol too much, you need the best sake cups.
Sake warmers, sake decanters, and sake sets are popular because anyone can make warm sake that way and enjoy a tasty alcoholic beverage.
The method of heating the sake in special sake warmers is unique to Japan and originated sometime 2000 years ago.
Here we’ll have a look at the best sake warmers for at home, and answer any questions you might have about preparing and drinking sake.
The best sake warmer for our hectic lifestyle is the TWINBIRD electrical sake warmer that works like a kettle. It lets you heat up sake in seconds, so you can quickly have a drink or serve your guests. If you’re like me, you want to enjoy sake after a long day, and you are just looking for convenience and comfort.
You can heat up the sake in this kettle and serve it in any glass you want quickly.
I will share multiple sake warmers besides this innovative electric kettle.
I will review traditional ceramic and glass sake warmers for all budgets to help you make an informed decision.
Making warm sake is a fun experience, and using traditional Japanese drinkware will only enhance the experience while making you even more eager to try all the different sake varieties and flavors.
After all, each sake tastes different when heated!
|Beste Sake Warmer
|Best Sake Warmer Machine: TWINBIRD Japanese Electric Sake Warmer
|Best Budget Sake Warmer: MyGift 6-Piece Japanese Ceramic Sake Set
|Best Advanced Ceramic Sake Set with Warmer: Japanese Ceramic Sake Serving Gift Set with Warmer
|Best Sake Warmer for Restaurants: Taiji Sake Warmer
|Best Glass Sake Warmer Set: ZENS Sake Set Glasses
|Best Candle Stove Sake Warmer: Japanese Ceramic Black Glaze Sake Set with Warmer Pot and Candle Stove
In this post we'll cover:
- 1 Why do you warm sake?
- 2 How do you warm sake?
- 3 Different sake temperatures
- 4 Best available sake warmers reviewed
- 4.1 Best Sake Warmer Machine: TWINBIRD Japanese Electric Sake Warmer
- 4.2 Best Budget Sake Warmer: MyGift 6-Piece Japanese Ceramic Sake Set
- 4.3 Best Advanced Ceramic Sake Set with Warmer: Japanese Ceramic Sake Serving Gift Set with Warmer
- 4.4 Best Sake Warmer for Restaurants: Taiji Sake Warmer
- 4.5 Best Glass Sake Warmer Set: ZENS Sake Set Glasses
- 4.6 Best Candle Stove Sake Warmer: Japanese Ceramic Black Glaze Sake Set with Warmer Pot and Candle Stove
- 5 Upgrade your sake experience with the best sake warmer
Why do you warm sake?
Here’s a fun fact: traditionally, sake was actually served warm.
The reason is that more than 30 years ago, sake wasn’t as smooth as it is now. It was rougher and woodier, meaning it had a distinct sweetish yet woody flavor.
The warming process helped the sake release the subtle flavor notes and made it taste much better.
But these days, with modern sake manufacturing method, cold and room temperature sake tastes delicious, so warming is now optional.
Yet still, many Japanese are used to drinking hot sake and many prefer it that way.
How do you warm sake?
While it may be tempting to pour sake into a pan and put it on the stove, this is the WORST thing you can do.
It causes the alcohol to burn off and ruins this fine drink.
The traditional way to warm sake in Japan is to put the drink in an aluminum or a ceramic carafe.
The carafe is then placed in a hot water bath for a couple of minutes to warm it up. If you want the sake hotter, leave it in hot water for a few extra minutes.
If you visit a restaurant, they will warm the sake up right in front of you in a ceramic carafe that already holds the hot water.
Different sake temperatures
Sake can be served at many different temperatures.
Some people like it at room temperature, while others prefer it very hot.
Here is a brief guide to the most common sake temperatures so that you know how to heat the drinks once you have your sake warmer.
Note: the following temperatures are in Fahrenheit.
- Tobikiri-kan is when the sake is very hot (131-Over)
- Atsu-kan is just Hot (between 122-131)
- Jyoh-kan is pretty warm (between 113-122)
- Nuru-kan is lukewarm (between 104-113)
- Hitohada-kan is around body temperature (between 95-104)
- Hinata-kan is sunlight warm (between 86-95)
- Suzu-hie is around room temperature on the cool side (between 50-59)
- Hana-hie is cold sake (between 41-50)
Heated sake takes on a flowery note with a slight umami flavor. The heating process loosens the sake up.
This process releases some sweetness and removes the slight bitterness of the drink.
Best available sake warmers reviewed
Now, let’s get into the sake warmer reviews.
I am sharing the best ones on Amazon, and the good news is that they are all made of different materials, so you can find one that suits your needs.
Best Sake Warmer Machine: TWINBIRD Japanese Electric Sake Warmer
Best for: quickly warming up sake for guests while entertaining or taking it on the go.
By far, one of the coolest sake gadgets you can find.
This TWINBIRD Japanese Electric Sake Warmer is the easiest and most convenient way to heat sake. It heats up the drink in seconds.
It’s basically a portable sake kettle that you can use to make a drink for yourself or serve your guests quickly at home or on the go.
The way it works is so simple, and you’ll be wondering why you haven’t tried this yet!
You place the sake inside the recipient and turn the machine on.
You can control the temperature by sliding the slider to the right to increase the heat.
The recipient is shaped like a small pot, and it is detachable.
Once the sake is at the desired temperature, you can remove it and pour it straight into sake glasses.
After you’re done serving, you can wash the sake container with warm water and a sponge, so it’s a hygienic device.
Best Budget Sake Warmer: MyGift 6-Piece Japanese Ceramic Sake Set
Best for: trying hot sake for the first time or just occasional drinking.
Want to try warm sake without spending a lot of money?
You can make and serve sake to friends and family with this budget 6-Piece Japanese Ceramic Sake Set.
It’s a small carafe but just big enough if you’re an occasional sake drinker.
If you don’t have a lot of space in your home, then this set is great because it’s smaller than other sets so you can store it without a hassle.
This 6 piece set features a bottle warmer, a carafe for the sake, and four drinking cups.
It is a classic Japanese ceramic sake set with a traditional-inspired design.
It imitates traditional sake sets but costs a fraction of the price. Therefore, you can use it to try different brands and flavors of sake in small quantities until you find the one you like most.
It works the same way as other ceramic warmers.
Fill the warmer with hot water, then add the decanter and wait until the sake starts to warm.
You can’t control the temperature but it makes your sake lukewarm to medium warm in only a few minutes, so it’s effective.
Best Advanced Ceramic Sake Set with Warmer: Japanese Ceramic Sake Serving Gift Set with Warmer
Best for: this ceramic set is ideal for those looking for an affordable sake set to enjoy with a small group of people.
Try the hot sake experience with this 7-piece handmade sake set.
You heat the sake with a small candle until the drink is at the desired temperature. It contains a sake warmer, which heats up the liquid via a tealight candle.
This warming style is called a candle stove warming method.
The candle is placed inside the warmer, and the alcohol is placed on top of the warmer.
After a few minutes, the sake is warm and ready to serve. I want to note that the heat from the candle is not really enough to make the sake piping hot, rather it warms it up slightly.
You can preheat the sake in another recipient and use this set to keep it warm for longer.
If you’re a sake aficionado, you will enjoy heating up your own sake. It’s a great way to try serving this drink in a traditional Japanese style.
In terms of design, this is beautiful drinkware. There are 4 serving cups in the set, with a traditional Japanese design.
The set is made from a glazed durable ceramic and comes in a stylish greenish-blue color.
Best Sake Warmer for Restaurants: Taiji Sake Warmer
Best for: Bars and restaurants because this machine has a large tank and heats up the sake real quick, so you can serve lots of customers.
Taiji is the Japanese brand that makes the best sake warmer machines in the world.
This restaurant-friendly sake warmer is used to heat large volumes of sake at once indirectly.
Therefore, you can continuously serve many customers without waiting for someone to heat the drink via hot water.
The machine has a compact vertical design, so it fits into small spaces.
You can set the desired temperature and operate the machine with your fingertips, so there is no complex knowledge required.
It has a 3.6 Litre tank, which is enough for quite a few patrons.
But the main reason Japanese restaurants use the Taiji machine is that it doesn’t impact the sake’s taste or clarity.
Thus, the quality remains high, and the sake tastes delicious. The machine works by heating the sake through warming baths.
The alcohol flows through special tubes and gets heated as it moves through the machine. The gentle heating process ensures the alcohol doesn’t evaporate or alter its taste.
Best Glass Sake Warmer Set: ZENS Sake Set Glasses
Best for: this glass set is ideal for those of you looking for premium elegant design and stylish drinkware. It is a modern alternative to traditional ceramic sets.
If you like the look of expensive glassware, then this set is for you.
This ZENS sake set is the most modern style you can find.
It is made of borosilicate glass (frosted glass) and has a cool curvy carafe.
It holds 250ml of sake, so you can serve about 4 portions. The beveled mouth of the carafe makes it easy to pour out the drink into the 4 glasses.
The outer vessel is where you place the hot water or the ice, depending on your preferences.
You can make super hot sake because the glass is high-hear resistant. It’s also dishwasher and microwave safe.
So if you ever feel lazy, you can heat up the water in the microwave and then place your sake in the inside recipient to warm it up.
So, if you want to impress someone with your premium sake warming set, you can take out this glass set.
Since it’s made of glass, you can watch as the sake gets warm and the glass fogs up.
Best Candle Stove Sake Warmer: Japanese Ceramic Black Glaze Sake Set with Warmer Pot and Candle Stove
Best for: This one is for sake enthusiasts who want a durable sake set that looks just like traditional Japanese pottery.
If like me, you’re fascinated by traditional Japanese pottery, you’ll appreciate this premium Ceramic Black pottery sake set.
It’s handcrafted with vintage materials, so the design is definitely one of a kind.
It has a candle stove, which is a place where you place the tealight candle to warm up the drink.
It’s ideal for serving larger groups because the sake pot has a 360 ml capacity. There are 6 sake cups, so it’s enough for your family and friends to try warm sake.
What makes this set great is that it has an anti-skid bottom and textured surface so it’s easy to pour the alcohol from the bottle.
The price is higher than other ceramic pottery sake warmers, but this is truly a premium material and unique design.
It’s definitely a collectors sake set you can pass on to the next generation because it will never go out of style.
Upgrade your sake experience with the best sake warmer
If you’ve tried drinking sake cold and you like the flavor, then you must try it warm or hot.
The flavors are more intense, fruitier, and distinguished.
Honestly, even if you buy a low-quality sake, you can improve the flavor by heating it up.
But, I recommend you get yourself some high-quality flavorful Japanese sake and a warmer or set and try it at home.
Did you know you can also cook with sake? Try out this delicious Toban Yaki recipe, with Sake as one of its ingredients!
Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.