Effect of Yawaragi-Mizu (Water served with Sake)
People tend to think that they get hydrated when drinking sake, but that is not true. On the contrary, water is consumed to break down alcohol and further increases the diuresis, which may cause dehydration. Compared to beer, sake has high alcohol content so that we recommend water, what we call yawaragi-mizu, which serves like a chaser for western liquor. It not just eases your drunkenness but works well in many ways when consumed together with sake, so it would be perfect if you drink water as much as sake.
Besides avoiding dehydration, water lowers alcohol concentration in your blood and helps you to take time to get tipsy so that you can prevent overdrinking and reduce the risk of hangover. Also, water allows you to savor the delicate tastes and flavors of sake created by the harmony of sweetness, acid, dryness and other various flavors. It refreshes your mouth, too, so it’s a must for tasting.
Tap water and mineral water are generally used for yawaragi-mizu, however, some sake restaurants provide specific water for sake brewing. It is best to drink water at around room temperature and lukewarm temperature, which have less impact on the stomach. It is probably better to ask for water “without ice”. Most of sake restaurants serve water at room temperature but some have lukewarm water or cooled boiled water. Together with yawaragi-mizu, better enjoy your sake and stay healthy.