Reasons You Shouldn’t Microwave Sake – Right Way To Use Sake Bottle

Sake is warming up in boiled water

Tokkuri is a traditional bottle that were specifically made to put sake in, and Ochoko is a sake cup that comes with it. They usually come in pairs, and are often made from pottery clay or glass.

If you’re into sake, you probably have one or two set of these in your cabinet, right? But do you know how to use Tokkuri correctly? In this post, I’d like to introduce you a way to take your sake experience to the next level!

How to Prepare Cold Sake

Sake in a glass bottle and Sake cups

Choosing your tokkuri:

-When you’re drinking sake cold, it’s recommended that you use a glass tokkuri. You can, of course, use a typical tokkuri that are made out of pottery clay; just that glass tokkuri tends to play a role in creating a cooler looking scene than the normal ones.
(Choose a small tokkuri if you’re looking for one that’s glass-made, to avoid chilled sake from getting lukewarm too fast)

Chilling your sake:

-Chill the bottle of sake in the vegetable section of your refrigerator. After it gets cold, our the sake into the tokkuri and leave it for about a minute before you enjoy it, because sake is best enjoyed at a slightly lower temperature than fridge-cold.
If you’re willing to invest a good deal of time and effort, prepare a bowl (preferably traditional wooden ‘oke’) filled with ice cubes and a bit of water. Place the sake filled tokkuri in the bowl. This way the sake will stay the same temperature until you finish the bottle.

What you shouldn’t do:

-Do not put an ice cube directly into the sake. This isn’t a very tasteful thing to do, and it also ruins the delicate flavor of sake.

How to Prepare Hot Sake

In addition, various lacquerwares which express the beauty of Japan are produced.

Sake is warming up in boiled water

Hot sake is best enjoyed during the winter. Although it has a much stronger flavor and can be too strong for some people, but it is a great treat when you’re looking for a way to warm up.
But even if you’re in a rush to take the sip of that sake, there is a rule that you should know in order to have a through experience: hot sake is best enjoyed when it is warmed up with water in a heated pan.

Here are the steps to follow:

Step 1:
  • Put sake (do not use a chilled one) in a tokkuri
  • Only pour up to the waist of tokkuri, because it will increase in mass when you boil it
  • If you put a plastic wrap over the mouth of tokkuri, you can keep the flavor from escaping
Step 2:
  • Put the tokkuri filled with sake in the pan and fill it with water. Keep the level of water at around half of the tokkuri
  • Take out the tokkuri
Step 3:
  • Start heating up the water
  • Stop the hat when it starts boiling
Step 4:
  • Put the tokkuri back in, and wait until it heats up to the temperature of your liking
  • If it becomes too hot to hold, use a towel to take it out of the pan
  • Pour the sake into the ochoko, and you’re all set!

How to Use Microwave for Sake

microwave to warm up sake

You can also use a microwave when you want to enjoy hot sake (make sure to use a microwavable tokkuri in this case):

Step 1:
  • Pour sake into the tokkuri
  • Cover the top with plastic wrap
Step 2:
  • Microwave it for about 20 seconds
  • Take it out and swirl the sake in the bottle
Step 3:
  • Repeat this process until it becomes the temperature of your liking


Even though this is a doable process, it’s not a recommended style of making a hot sake. Compare to heating it up in a boiling water, microwave cannot heat up the content thoroughly and will cause a temperature difference in the bottle. It’s also very hard to determine when to stop the microwave from heating. This causes the sake to lose its flavor. Flavor can escape in either of the styles if you heat it up too much, but it’s much more likely to happen with microwave.

In Conclusion

If you already knew all of these rules, you must be a real sake lover! I’m going to write an article about the rules of drinking sake soon, so hopefully, if this post turned out to be too easy for you, you can check the next one out 🙂

author Kanna

Author - Kanna

A writing/translating enthusiast and a part-time illustrator, recently graduated from Sophia University. My expertise is in media and English studies, but I am also interested in a wide variety of fields, including traditions of art in Japan and how it has changed and been preserved. I hope people find interest in Japan through this blog!

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