Before winter begins to grudgingly give ground to warmer weather, be sure to get your share of warm sake.

It is too easy, in this era of premium sake served chilled, to overlook how fine warm sake can be. Should you do your tasting at a sake pub, try to avoid the overheated, cheap stuff. You are not likely to hold it in the highest regard, and you might be discouraged from trying again: a common reaction. Instead, find a decent pub that will warm the sake of your choice to the temperature you want.

Hot sake is known as o-kan,or kan-zake in general. Nurukan refers to sake heated to about 40-45 C, whereas atsukan is piping hot sake. Atsukan has its appeal as a curiosity, but you really can't taste much. Try to stick with slightly less scalding sake.