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Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010

GIFT PICKS: For sake lovers

Getting into seasonal spirits — Japan style

Special to The Japan Times

Mini Mini Kansuke

Sanshin Mini Mini Kansuke

Warm sake may have gotten a bit of a bad reputation over the last few years, but it really is great on cold wintry nights. And some varieties of premium sake are actually best enjoyed above room temperature (Daishichi Kimoto Classic from Fukushima and Shinkame Junmai-shu from Saitama are just two examples).

The Sanshin Mini Mini Kansuke is a modern take on the traditional device used to warm sake. It consists of a small metal pouring vessel that sits in a double-layered plastic heating chamber. Simply fill the chamber with water, stick it in the microwave for a minute, and then submerge the metal vessel in the hot water until the sake is warmed to your liking. You can order it online for ¥7,500 on Sanshin's website.

Hou Hou Shu

Hou Hou Shu

Ring in the New Year with a bottle of sparkling sake. Hou Hou Shu from Marumoto Shuzo in Okayama is a lightly fizzy, delicately sweet party-pleaser that makes for a fun, low-alcohol alternative to Champagne. It's ideal as an apertif or as an accompaniment to fruity desserts. Normally, this sake is only sold in 180 ml and 300 ml bottles, but Hasegawa sake shop in Omotesando Hills has a special 720 ml bottle (¥1,890) for the holidays. The bottle is a festive electric blue and comes with a cork enclosure.

The Sanshin Mini Mini Kansuke is available at sanshin.in.coocan.jp/0305_PRO_ KOD.html Hou Hou Shu can be bought online at www.hasegawasaketen.com


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