How do drinking vessels affect the taste of sake?
Different drinking vessels changes a sake's character. To better understand which drinking vessel is suitable while serving sake, here are some common scenarios you can refer to.
Servings scenarios and their suitable vessels:Aromatic "fruity" sake
Appropriate drinking vessels for the aromatic sake (i.e. Aromatic Sake Type) is a white wine glass, or a Riedel Daiginjo Glass. Their curved shape allows to the drinker to have a clearer observation of the sake's complex aroma.Slightly chilled sake
When serving slightly chilled sake, a white wine glass or choko (small traditional Japanese sake cup) are the go-to drinking vessels. They help to convey the refreshing characteristics that a majority of slightly chilled sake have.
Warm sake can be served in a tokkuri (porcelain carafe), with a choko or a guinomi (large choko). To maintain the temperature of the warm sake, serve the warm sake in a tokkuri, then pour the sake into the choko or guinomi to sip. Learn how to warm sake.Umami forward sake
Serve this style of sake in a choko, guinomi or a Riedel Junmai Glass. The flavours of umami along with the usual ricey, nutty, yeasty notes are better conveyed on the palate by these drinking vessels.Nigori
For sake that contains sediments, like cloudy sake (nigori 濁り), it's better to use a non-transparent glass like a porcelain choko or guinomi, this eliminates the messy look that you'd get from using glassware.
Characteristics of drinking vessels we often use:
Choko (small traditional sake cup) & Guinomi (large choko): When sipping these drinking vessels your mouth tends to make an "O" shape, this allows the sake to fully cover your palate, therefore highlighting the sake's taste. The same concept is adopted for warm sake. The sake's subtle flavours are more noticeable at warmer temperatures, and when sipped from a choko and guinomi, the sake's taste can be fully experienced.
Janome (professional sake tasting cups): The word "Janome" means snake eye, which is depicted by the blue and white rings at the bottom of the cup. The rings are used to assess the clarity of a sake by observing the borders between the blue and white areas. The white areas of the cup also allows you to better observe the colour of the sake. Many sake brewers and sommeliers use this janome to judge the sake. The cup itself is similar to the choko and guinomi, with addition of the rings, and can be used in the same way as mention above.
White wine glass & Riedel Daiginjo Glass: Glassware displays the clarity and colour of the sake clearly, while the curved shape of these two drinking vessels convey the sake's fruity aroma. They are ideal when conducting a sake tasting.
Get your own drinking vessels and test them out on your sake!