How to Enjoy Drinking Sake with Masu?
There are two ways to enjoy sake in Masu; one is to pour sake directly into the Masu and the other is to put a glass inside the Masu.
Masu is considered to be auspicious and is often present at parties and ceremonies. During one of the Japanese traditional ceremonies, “Cutting Kagamimochi,” sake is poured into Masu for the toasts.
There is a pouring style called “Spillover” which is a way of drinking by putting a glass in a Masu and pouring it until it overflows. It is one of the most common ways to serve sake you in Izakaya and traditional restaurants in Japan.
What is “Spillover” method?
"Spillover" is a method of pouring all the way up to the edge of a glass and overflowing inside the Masu or the plate.
“Spillover” became a custom of the times when sake was initially sold by weight. When the customer paid for one “go” of sake, he poured the sake up to the edge of the glass, but it measured less than one “go”, so he adjusted the amount by overflowing on the saucer using the Masu.
This later turned into a gesture that shows the generosity of the sake shops - "how much extra service they offer." Traditionally, it is the most pleasant way to pour sake for the sake lovers, and the tradition has been carried on at most Izakaya and Japanese restaurants.
How to "Spillover"?
Since the custom of “Spillover” has developed organically over the century, there is no “right” way to pour or drink from Masu. However, it’s considered a generous gesture from the restaurant, we’d like to share the most acknowledged way of serving and drinking your sake in “Spillover” style.
First, lift the sake glass and put your mouth on the glass to prevent sake from spilling. The trick here is to smoothly spill sake from the glass into the Masu. When your sake glass is half empty, pour the sake remaining inside the box or plate into the glass and drink the rest.
Although this is the standard way to enjoy your “Spillover” sake, you are welcome to try it the other ways as long as you don’t waste your sake. Once you take a sip from the glass and spill onto Masu, it’s also respectable to drink the rest directly from Masu.
When drinking from Masu, hold the edge of Masu with your thumb while supporting the bottom with the rest of your fingers. Also, it is proper to put your mouth to the flat sides of the Masu and not the corners. Last tip - do not worry so much about spilling! It’s appropriate to drink from all parts of Masu, whatever is the most comfortable for you!
Consider Yourself a Sake Connoisseur?
Drink sake while pouring salt on the corner rims of the Masu and lightly lick the salt as you sip. The salt made from mineral-rich seawater and rock salt with a little bit of sweetness especially goes well with sake. Pairing the salt that’s compatible with sake expands your experience with sake.