Though Origami Sake’s facility in Hot Springs held its grand opening earlier this week, its products aren’t on store shelves just yet. To have a more authentic experience when the fresh sake begins to flow, here’s a brief rundown on proper sake etiquette and how it’s beginning to change. 


Traditional sake etiquette is detailed and nuanced, with a number of possible variations. Though it is most traditional to serve it warm, room temperature and chilled sake are also acceptable, and each sake is made to be enjoyed at a particular temperature. 


A sake set typically consists of a serving carafe known as a tokkuri, personal cups called ochoko and sometimes a box called a masu. When a masu is used, a cup is placed inside and filled until it overflows. After drinking from the cup, you then drink the sake that overflowed directly from the box.


Traditionally, one should never pour sake for themselves – it should always be served by another, and every cup on the table should remain filled. For that reason, leave some in your cup when you are done, as an empty cup signals that you need a refill. When pouring sake, hold the tokkuri with your right hand while touching the bottom with the left. When receiving, place your right hand under the cup and hold the side with your left. 


Don’t drink until everyone’s cups are full, and once the sake has been poured, make sure to take at least one sip before placing the cup on the table. Outside of formal situations, the rules are not so rigid, but it is still considered polite to always pour for others.


In the modern day, however, things are changing. Origami Sake in particular seeks to produce beverages that are better suited to American palettes and cuisine. As such, some of the traditional rules and tools are giving way to new ideas.



“In a bold fusion of tradition and innovation, the ancient art of sake brewing is witnessing a remarkable transformation,” said Matt Bell, president and CEO of Origami Sake. “Traditional sake etiquette, deeply rooted in Japanese culture for centuries, is embracing a new trend: drinking chilled sake from elegant wine glasses. This captivating development not only enhances the flavors and aromas of the rice wine but also opens up the world of sake to a broader audience.”


Even many traditional sake establishments, Bell explained, are now embracing the trend of serving chilled sake in wine glasses while also offering the traditional ochoko, ensuring that both purists and those seeking new experiences can indulge in sake while appreciating the rich heritage it represents. This new trend at once revitalizes the art of sake brewing by opening new possibilities while also inviting a global audience to appreciate the beverage.


“As sake continues to evolve, one thing remains certain: the rich heritage and customs of the past will forever shape the way we appreciate and savor this iconic Japanese beverage,” Bell said. “The trend of chilled sake in wine glasses is a testament to the dynamic nature of sake, showcasing its ability to embrace innovation while remaining firmly rooted in tradition.”


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