"Cup Sake" - An Underrated Item
I got to thinking not to long that cup sake is an underrate and often over looked item. Let’s start buy talking about what cup sake is? Cup sake is single serving sake often sold in a small glass jar, small can, or sometimes in a box similar to a juice box.
One great thing about cup sake is it is widely available in Japan. You can get them at the supermarket, convenience stores, and vending machines. They fill the need for a person who want to drink some sake, but a 720 ml might be to much to drink at that time.
I no longer live in Japan, but when I did the city I lived in would have an oyster （かき） festival twice a year. The festival would happen in November and February. You can go down to where the festival was held and for 1000 yen you would get 1 kg of oysters, a shucker, gloves, and charcoal. They would also sell onigiri, fish, etc, as well. The had small charcoal grills you sit at and a person would come around and light your charcoal in the grill for you. You would then cook your food, eat, drink, and enjoy time with your friends and family.
When eating the oysters in cool temperatures I would want some warm sake. Now normally this would be an issue. I wouldn't have a tokkuri to warm the sake in. That's is where the beauty of the cup sake came in. It was already in a vessel that could be warmed. I would do it by pushing the charcoal to one side of the grill and put the cup sake on the other side and warm it indirectly. Now, I know you probably shouldn't heat sake like that, but I was in a pinch. After a few minutes the sake was warm (not hot) and it still tasted great with the fresh oysters and fish.
Flash forward to now. When I am sticking up on sake I will buy a few "cup sake". There are lots of good cup sake out there. Typically I buy some to bring with me when I go to eat sushi. There are a few spots by me that have excellent sushi. However, one of them doesn't have a license to sell alcohol so it is BYOS. (Bring Your Own Sake .... see what I did there?) I'll bring a some for my dinner.
I also think "cup sake" is good for things like picnics, bbq's, etc. It is a versatile way to enjoy sake but not have to have a big bottle or even keep ochoko or other serving cups.
I think there are many ways to enjoy "cup sake". I hope you make them part of your sake experience.