Sake Sets usually come with a Tokkuri (sake carafe) and Ochoko (cup). With so many types of sets available, it might be difficult to pick the right one for you. Here are some guidelines that may help you in your decision process:
1. Size of the cup diameter
The next time you have a sake set, make sure to explore the aromas! If your cup is too small, you won't be able to enjoy all of the scents. Having two different cups can also help you taste differences that you may not have noticed before.
2. Size of Carafe
It is essential to use the larger size of the carafe because it keeps the Sake warmer. If the temperature changes too quickly, then the flavour will be lost.
How to drink sake
1. Warm (Hot) Sake
Although many people are of the belief that high-quality sake should not be drunk hot because it would affect the aroma and flavour, hot alcoholic beverages are actually quite rare. Drinking hot sake is one way to taste this traditional Japanese drink in its unique form.
Although the ideal temperature for the hot beverage is typically between 120° and 130°F, another way to enjoy this beverage is by finding your favorite temperature!
2. Cold Sake
The ideal temperature for cold sake is 44° to 50°F--any colder and you won't be able to taste anything.
It can be enjoyed in many ways, so find the way that you like best. Try it crisp and cool, subtly warmed, or hot that warms your throat.
How to serve and how to drink sake
First, you must serve the sake at the correct temperature. Honjozo-Shu and Junmai-Shu are usually served around room temperature, whereas Ginjo-Shu and Namazake should be chilled. However, no matter what type of sake it is, serving it above room temperature is never ideal.
Before serving, the tokkuri should be held with both hands by the person pouring it. The guest of honour's cup should be filled up first and then everyone else's cups in clockwise order around the table. All guests must make sure that their host is also served. If the host has a higher status than any of the guests, he can pour using only one hand while holding onto the tokkuri flask with his other hand.
One must hold the cup with the right hand wrapped around it and the other resting in their palm if they are being served. If, however, the person serving sake has lower status, then only one hand is to be used.
"Kenpai" is a Japanese term used to express gratitude, and at the same time determine hierarchy within a group. This phrase is usually accompanied by a small ritual where everyone involved touches cups together. The person of lower status should never have their cup above the cup of someone with higher authority.