NURU-KAN: Umami-Packed Drinking Enjoyment

Drinking Nuru-Kan warmed Sake during the wintertime has existed from back in the 8th century among the upper echelon of Japanese society. By the 16th century, this practice gradually spread through other communities, and Nuru-Kan, once relished exclusively during the cold seasons came to be enjoyed all year round. Following the culmination of what was considered the golden age for warmed Sake from late 19th century to the first half of the 20th, paved way to today’s modern trend of Tanrei Karakuchi, light & dry, Sake. Regardless, Nuru-Kan has been steadfast and is making a gradual comeback at today’s eateries and in homes.

Japanese restaurants in the US typically have two types of Sake drinking followers: (1) guests who order the house hot Sake, and (2) those who order the premium Ginjo-type, served chilled. It’s interesting to note that these preferences correlate with how much Sake drinking is entrenched in a particular regional area. Though cold Ginjo Sake is sought after in cosmopolitan cities, hot Sake remains the favorite in the less urban areas. And while oftentimes hot Sake is served at over 149+ degrees F, that kind of heating pretty much destroys the delicate flavors that Sake has to offer.

With such a wide array of Sake types currently available, it’s prime time to offer American Sake fans Nuru-Kan, warmed Sake, to highlight a more mellow, Umami-filled drinking experience.

Nuru-Kan warmed Sake, served 95˚F to 122˚F, is ideal for highlighting certain flavors and Sake types.

Sake Flavor Characteristics by Serving Temperature

Selecting Sake Best for Nurukan

Sake Suitable for Nuru-kan

  • Sake With Acidity
    Sake with sharp acidity at room temp. Warming this type of Sake emphasizes the sweetness and balances out the acidity.
  • Sake With Umami Component
    Kimoto and Yamahai Sake types packed with amino acids, the Umami component. Warming these types accentuates flavor and increases Umami.
  • Aged Sake
    Aged Sake with melting caramel aroma such as Shukoshu. Warming this type of Sake enhances other aromas while tapering off pungent aromas.

Sake Not Suitable for Nuru-kan

  • Aromatic Sake
    Warming Ginjo type Sake over intensifies the aroma, which disrupts the flavor of the food.
  • Fruity & Sweet Sake
    Warming Sake brewed specifically to be sweet will only further exaggerate its sweetness.
  • Sake with Off Aroma
    Warming Sake with off aromas, such as turpentine, paper, wood/pulp material, will further accentuate the unpleasant smell.

A double lined container: The inner bottle holds Sake, heated as it’s immersed in the outer container holding hot water.

Prepping Tips for Best Nuru-Kan

  • In a saucepan, bring water to a gentle simmer, around 194˚F. Remove from the heat source.
  • Pour Sake into Chirori aluminum Sake server. Place container in a saucepan for 1 ½ minutes, Jiki porcelain Sake server for 4 minutes, and Toki ceramic Sake server for 7 minutes.
  • Use Sake thermometer for accuracy.

Business Benefits

The benefits of using specialized Nuru-Kan servers are the customer involvement as they anticipate creating their own persionsal8zed brew, heated to their liking. The added prep work can be as simple as setting a Sake container along with a pot of simmering water at tableside. This unique presentation will pique the interest and delight the dining guests.

Selecting Ochoko To Best Highlight Nuru-Kan flavors

  • Flat Type
    Shallow, with wide-open top highlights refreshing acidity.
  • Bowl Type
    Deeper, medium top opening accentuates acidity and sweetness.
  • Cylindrical Type
    Narrow top opening asserts sweetness.

Taste Differences: Tokkuri vs Chirori


Tokkuri

  • Ceramic
    The soft mouth-feel Offers best heat retention. Temp reduces 50˚F. in 8 minutes. (Temperature varies depending on the size and shape of tokkuri.)
  • Porcelain
    Both acidity and sweetness is between ceramic tokkuri and chirori. Second best heat retention. Temp reduces 50˚F in 5 minutes. *

Chirori

  • Aluminum
    Acidity is well-balanced. Poor heat retention. Temp reduces 50˚F in 2.5 minutes.
  • Tin
    Acidity becomes prominent. Poor heat retention. Temp reduces 50˚F in 2 minutes.