Good sake should be chilled – always?

Good sake should be chilled. Is this always true?

It seems like there are two mantras I here all the time about sake. The first is the average first encounter with sake; a hot fusel drink from a Japanese restaurant. The second is that good sake should be chilled slightly for drinking. While these two lead us to conclude that all good sake is best served chilled this is not strictly the case.

While most daiginjo and ginjo will lose their aromatics if heated to any extent other sakes will nicely take the heat and pass on the warm comfort with each sip. I, like many, had my first encounter with sake as a hot drink at a sushi bar. I was not impressed. Later, quite a bit later, when I was looking in to brewing sake, I experienced my first high quality sake a little chilled in a wine glass. Wow, what a difference. As I looked into sake more, I found more and more references stating, basically, the good stuff should be served chilled. And for the most part this is how I proceeded, never giving it much more thought. However, two people have set me straight.

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