Choosing Hot or Cold

August 17, 2022

Unlike beer and wine, sake can be served cold and or hot right?
Actually, it’s yes and no.
Originally, sake was taken at room temperature simply because we did not have a refrigerator back then. So we enjoyed it as is or by heating it. Thus, hot sake came before the cold one. And hot sake was popular for two reasons. One is a good reason. Another is not so much.

The good reason to serve sake hot is quite obvious. It helps us warm up. Japan is a humid and hot country but it is quite cold during the winter. Tokyo today is colder during the winter compared to Vancouver. Not to mention, it was much colder back then since global warming wasn’t an issue. Living in a paper and wood base home during winter wasn’t pleasant. Heating a sake helped make yourself warm.

So what is the bad reason to heat up sake? Same as cooling a red wine. Poor quality sake and wine have a bitter and distasteful odor. To hide the unpleasant smell or even the taste, sake was heated. Much like why some people put poor-quality red wine in a cooler to hide its smell. In a way, because heating these poor quality sakes do hide the odor in some capacity, it could be considered a good thing but the reality of producing these level of sake isn’t necessarily good. Yes, it’s understandable back then when we did not have much of a choice. But today when there is an abundance of choices, these cheap sakes are only made because of cost efficiency.

So does it mean hot sake is poor quality? No. Selected sake was made to be better served hot. But overall, we do not heat up high-quality sake. The majority of the best sake is served cold.

Cooling a sake would sharpen the flavor and that is why most sake is served cold today. Some sake can be chilled or heated and if that was the case, you may choose but unless otherwise, sake is served best chilled.

So, which sake can be served hot? Gekkeikan is known to be the best popular. The most standard sake you can find in almost any Japanese restaurant in Vancouver. It isn’t necessarily a premium class sake but heating Gekkeikan would sharpen its texture and smell by ten times. Shouchikubai is also another great choice. But which sake would you suggest chilled?

All sake we offer on our menu can be served chilled. But the popular ones are the Dassai, Goku Jo, Tama-No-Hikari. You can’t go wrong with these. But how about those that can handle both hot and cold? Yes, we have an answer for that too!

Our original sake, “Kamei Sake” is the best go-to for serving cold or hot! We specifically made this sake to be the standard of premium sake that can match nearly all types of food! Also, we have the Kissho Zuiyo and Karakuchi Junmai Yaemon which can be served cold or hot too. If you want the aromatic flavor, Kissho Zuiyo would not disappoint. But if you want a bit more punch, Karakuchi Junmai Yaemon is the way to go!

Kamei Sake comes in two sizes. 720ml and 300ml. And yes, you can purchase and take home to enjoy at your home!

Kamei Sake is produced by Kamei Royale and a bottle designed by the manager Shingo Masuda. The sake is created by the sake master Mr. Sato from Yamatogawa Brewery in Japan and the project was made happen by Mr. Watai and his daughter Ayaka from the well-known Jizake Japan in Canada. Please ask your server for details!

Where we at

Business Hours:

Monday – Thursday (Lunch & Dinner)

11:30am – 2:30pm
4:30pm – 9:00pm

Friday (Lunch & Dinner)

11:30am – 2:30pm
4:30pm – 9:30pm

Saturday (Dinner)

5:00pm – 9:30pm

Sunday (Dinner)

5:00pm – 9:00pm

Happy Hour Monday – Friday

4:30pm – 6:30pm

Karaoke Thursday – Saturday

9:30pm – Late

Kamei Royale Japanese Restaurant
1066 West Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC, V6E 3X2