There are 2 things you should keep in mind when selecting a Sake set:
Sake flavors and aromas alter as its temperature changes. Sake is best served in a small cup so that you can empty it before the temperature of Sake changes.
2. The width of the cup mouth
The wider the mouth of the cup is, the more easily you can sniff out the Sake aroma. This is because oxidization of Sake and volatilization of aromatic elements speed up.
* Shapes of Sake Cups
Some believe shapes of Sake cups affect the taste of Sake (e.g. trumpet, bud, straight and bowl shapes). However, their effect on Sake taste has not been scientifically proved and remains controversial (neither is a wine glass).
One common belief is that the shape of the Sake cup directs the Sake itself into the best area of the mouth. This is based on false ideas about the nature of taste buds on the tongue, such as the thoroughly discredited tongue map.
As for the aroma, if you want to sniff out the aroma (especially for aromatic Ginjo type), just stick to a bowl-shaped Sake cup. Just like wine, you can swirl and detect aromas the best in this way.
Having said that, let’s look at the list of 5 Sake cups!
Ochoko is a small Sake cup. It’s a small cylindrical cup (about 3-6cm in diameter) that you might have probably seen if you’ve been to Japanese restaurants in your countries. You can enjoy the variety of sake cup designs, colors and shapes, indulging yourself in the Japanese traditional world. This sake cup usually broadens at neck to allow the sake aromas to waft upward. Ochoko and Guinomi are the most widely used sake vessels.
Guinomi is a Sake cup, slightly larger than Ochoko. Apart from size, Guinomi follows the same characteristics as Ochoko. Guinomi made from pottery with rough texture is the best for hot Sake.
A wide-mouthed, flat Sake vessel that is regarded as an old-style. It continues to be the ceremonial favourite, often used in Shinto-related ceremonies. This cup is most formally lifted to the mouth with two hands: one to hold the bottom of the cup and the other to hold it on the side.
Available in a number of sizes from the most minute to a large showpiece, the sakazuki most typically holds only a few sips. Sakazuki are often beautifully decorated and usually made from porcelain, earthenware or lacquer but some are available also in gold, silver and glass.
This wooden square box was originally designed centuries ago as a measuring tool for rice and Sake. Generally used in ceremonial occasions today, Masu is rarely used at home. But it doesn’t mean you can’t use it at home. If used, it would give the good ol’ traditional atmosphere to your drink scene.
5. Wine Glass
The newly-adapted drinking style that has been gaining great popularity with Sake sommeliers and professionals. It helps you sense subtle aroma, colors, and viscosity of sake which you could not fully recognize in traditional sake vessels. There’s even a Sake competition, Fine Sake Awards Japan which assesses which Sake performs the best in a wineglass.
Aromatic Ginjo type Sake is best served in a wine glass as you can sniff out its aroma.
Source & Image credits: http://www.sake-talk.com