Sweet rice wine for cooking (mirin)

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: Non-seasonal Topic
***** Category: Humanity


The word MIRIN is now quite common in other languages too.
This kind of ingredient is not a drinking wine, but only used for cooking.

Not to mix with . . . amazake, sweet rice wine 甘酒.

There are many different kinds of Mirin on the market in Japan.


November 30 has been designated the Day of hon-mirin
by the mirin industry because in Japanese wordplay the date words sound like '11' (いい, good) and '30' (みりん, mirin)."


Mirin (味醂 or みりん, Mirin is an essential condiment used in Japanese cuisine, consisting of 40%–50% sugar. It is a kind of rice wine similar to sake, but with a lower alcohol content—14% instead of 20%.

There are three general types.
The first is hon mirin (lit. true mirin), which contains alcohol.
The second is shio mirin, which contains alcohol as well as 1.5% salt to avoid alcohol tax.
The third is shin mirin (lit. new mirin), or mirin-fu chomiryo (lit. imitation mirin), which contains less than 1% alcohol yet retains the same flavor.

In the Edo period, Mirin was drunk as a sweet sake. Otoso, traditionally drunk on Shōgatsu New Year was made by soaking a spice mixture in mirin. In the Kansai style of cooking, mirin is briefly boiled before using, to allow some of the alcohol to evaporate, while in the Kantō regional style, the mirin is used untreated. Kansai-style boiled mirin is called nikiri mirin (煮切り味醂), literally "thoroughly boiled mirin."

Mirin is used to add a bright touch to grilled (broiled) fish or to erase the fishy smell. A small amount is often used instead of sugar and soy sauce. It should not be used in excess however, as its flavor is quite strong. It is sometimes used as a sushi accompaniment.

Mirin is commonly used in teriyaki sauce.
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jukusei mirin 熟成みりん aged mirin
usually for 3 years

Handmade mirin from Kawabe town in Gifu by Hakusen Shuzou 白扇酒造
This company started in the 18th century in the town of Kawabe, Gifu Prefecture. Fukurai Honmirin 福来純三年熟成本みりん is made using a 400 year-old traditional method (with mochigome glutinous rice, specially prepared koji and 41% rice shochu without any other preservatives).
It has a good reputation for its fragrant sweet flavor.

Mixed with hot water and some yuzu juice, it is a winter drink to keep the body warm in Kawabe.
This was a place where in the cold autumn and winter days logs were put into ikada and shipped down the river. The workers were always cold and enjoyed the sweet mirin to keep them warm.

juusannen no nemuri, jusannen no nemuri 十三年乃眠り "sleeping for 13 years"
mirin aged for 13 years has a brwon color almost like a port wine and can be used for French cooking or as an aperitiv just like that.

Mirin is used in the sauce to make a good kabayaki unagi, grille eel.

Akasake mirin
from Kumamoto

Worldwide use

süßer Reiswein der japanischen Küche

Things found on the way



Related words




anonymous news said...

Why not add a little booze?
by Makiko Itoh

Mirin is a staple of Japanese kitchens, yet few people know what it actually is.

Although these days it’s thought of solely as a cooking ingredient, mirin was originally regarded as an expensive, high-class beverage. It was the tipple of choice of wealthy ladies, who mixed it with shōchū (distilled spirits) to produce a sweet, heady drink.


Gabi Greve - WKD said...

November 30
honmirin no hi 本みりんの日
day of hon mirin

created by 全国味淋協会


「い(1)い(1) み(3)りん(0=輪)」
Calendar Days of November

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Sake 酒 for rituals and festivals