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The Best Sake Warmer– Its Features and Types

Tom Inoue

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Japanese sake is one of the few alcoholic drinks you can enjoy warm. Not only is it good by itself, but it also goes well most food.

There are several ways of warming sake (read about Warm Sake). One of the most convenient and efficient ways is by using sake warmers.

Not quite sure which one to get? Read along and find out which sake warmer will suit you best.

1. Features of a good Sake Warmer

Before you go off choosing from a list of products, let’s go through some qualities that make a good sake warmer. Look for something that can:

1-1. Preserve the sake’s aroma

Sake is a fragrant drink and you’d want to enjoy its aroma while drinking it warm. But heating causes its aromatic compounds to become volatile and if not careful, you can lose this aroma easily. Choose a sake warmer with a cap or a narrow opening to keep its aroma from escaping while heating.

1-2. Heat quickly

Who doesn’t want to drink their nicely warmed sake, ASAP? Plus, warming sake for a long period of time may make it lose its aroma.

1-3. Heat evenly

Direct heating or microwaving causes uneven heating of your sake. Not to mention the risk of overheating it. Trust us, it’s no good.

Many sake warmers use a technique similar to double boiling. Hot water surrounds the sake vessel to allow even heating and maintenance of the temperature.

1-4. Control the temperature

From 85°F to 131°F (30 – 55°C), sake’s taste profile changes every 9F° (5C°). You’d want a warmer that allows you to heat your sake to a range of temperatures to enjoy its different qualities.

Some warmers come with automatic temperature settings. Some come in a set-up similar to double boiling. They will require you to manually add hot water to control and maintain the temperature.

1-5. Be easily maintained

Some sake warmers for business use are extremely precise and efficient, but they require regular maintenance, such as, tube cleaning. You don’t want to do it by yourself every time. Look for something that is not too bulky or complicated and is easy to clean.

2. Best sake warmers

With those important features in mind, here are some of the best sake warmers available:

Sake warmer ‘Kawai’


Photo credit: https://www.kappa-maeda.co.jp/

Product available internationally at: http://uk.japan-gourmet.com

The Kawai sake warmer is made from Minoware, the most popular type of pottery in Japan. Using it is simple: pour hot water into the outer pot, then add the inner pot which is 80-90% filled with sake. Wait for 2-3 minutes.

Temperature control is manually done. You will need some practice but you’ll get it after 2-3 times. The hot water in the pottery will also keep the temperature of sake inside.

You can cover its mouth with sake cups in order to keep the aroma while heating.

  • Preserves aroma: yes, by covering the mouth with a cup
  • Heating time: 2-3 minutes
  • Even heating: yes
  • Temperature control: Manual
  • Maintenance: Very easy
  • Volume: 9.8 fl oz (290 ml)
  • Price: $45.33 (tax exclusive)

Mini ‘Kansuke’


Photo credit: http://www.kk-sanshin.com/

Using Kansuke is the same as with Kawai. Pour hot water into the gray bottle and add the sake in the metal flask. The flask is made from tin, which is said to make the taste of sake milder. Tin also has high heat conductivity, and it takes only 90 seconds to warm sake to 115°F (45°C). Also, the square wooden box is a very typical Japanese design.

  • Preserves aroma: yes
  • Heating time: 1.5 minutes
  • Even heating: yes
  • Temperature control: Manual
  • Maintenance: very easy
  • Volume: 12.2 fl oz (360 ml)
  • Price: —
  • (Unfortunately, this one’s not available internationally yet)

Nishiyama Electric Sake Warmer


Photo credit: http://otchan.jugem.jp/

‘酒燗器’ on the label means sake warmer.

This electric sake warmer is also made from Minoware. Although it doesn’t come with a cap or cover, its narrow mouth is adequate in keeping the aroma of sake.

It starts heating once you hit the button, and you’ll just wait once it’s completed (about 3 minutes). However, since this heat unevenly, there is a chance that you may loose some flavor of sake.

There are only three temperature settings available. But the simplicity and convenience of just choosing one outweighs the cons.

  • Preserves aroma: yes
  • Heating time: about 3 minutes
  • Even heating: No
  • Temperature control: Automatic, at 105, 120, 130°F (40, 50, 55°C)
  • Maintenance: Easy, but maintain like other electronic appliances
  • Volume: 15.2 fl oz (450 ml)
  • Price: $124.99

These three warmers will surely simplify your sake warming days. You’ll spend more time enjoying your hot sake instead of brooding over the pan or the microwave. Think about the five important features above and selecting the best sake warmer for you will be a sinch.

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