A trick to enjoy Japanese sake even more! All About Sake Drinking Vessels

In recent years, sake has been increasing in popularity overseas. The numbers of foreign tourists ordering sake in restaurants and buying it as souvenirs are also on the rise. One way to enjoy sake even more whether you've been a sake fan for years or are just starting is to know how to choose the proper drinking vessel for your needs.


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■ What is Japanese sake?



Sake is a type of fermented liquor that is unique to Japan. The main ingredients of sake are rice and water, and using different techniques on the rice turns it into alcohol. There are many types of rice and yeast, and depending on their combination, different types of sake are created. There are different ranks in sake, including how much of the rice is polished before it's used. 

1. Ochoko



This vessel is used by pouring a little bit of sake at a time into small cups. Ochoko come in various materials and shapes, and depending on which one you use, the taste of the sake will change. For example, if you use an ochoko with a big mouth, the fragrance of the sake will be enhanced. When you want to properly taste the full flavor of the sake, it's best to use an ochoko made with thin materials. There are many designs available now so it's great for souvenirs as well.

2. Masu

Rick Cogley/Flickr

Originally, it was used as a measuring tool for sake, but over the years it has turned into a drinking vessel instead. There are few restaurants that serve sake in masu, but instead they serve "mokkiri sake," in which a glass is placed in the masu and filled until it overflows and fills the masu. There's an old tradition of putting salt on one of the corners of the masu when you drink sake from it..

3. Glass


Glasses are good for when you want to properly enjoy the flavor of the sake. Glasses are especially good for high-ranked, delicate sake so you can enjoy the subtle flavors. However, if you try to drink richly flavored sake or a high-proof sake in a glass, you might get tired of it or quit drinking halfway through, so please be aware.

4. Flute Glass

Flute glasses, which are easy to hold, are great for a wide variety of sake including strongly flavored sake and sake with mellow fragrances. In recent years, sake made with carbonation have become popular, and flute glasses have become sought-after vessels for that type of drink. If you use them for parties, they can be beautiful decorations as well.

5. Hai

In recent years, hai are rarely used in restaurants. They're mostly used for official purposes in religious Shinto ceremonies like weddings. Also, since a hai is traditionally used to create bonds and trust between two people, it's the most formal of all the sake vessels.

6. Wooden Shuki



A wooden shuki is good to have in case the sake you have doesn't suit your tastes or you feel as though it isn't as fragrant as it could be. The aroma of the wood will harmonize with the sake and make it easy to drink. This is especially recommended for people who are just learning how to drink sake or for people who aren't fans of dry liquor. 

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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