Kikkoman® brand "Sweet Cooking Sake" (mirin) - Commonly found in the United States.

Mirin 味醂 (also called Sweet cooking sake) is a Japanese condiment which contains roughly 14% alcohol. To make mirin, steamed mochi-gome (glutinous rice), kome-koji (cultured rice), and shochu (distilled alcoholic beverage) are mixed and fermented for about 2 months. Mirin produced this way is called hon-mirin, as distinguished from mirin-style condiments (mirin-fu chomiryo) which are made to resemble the flavor of mirin. Mirin-style condiments contain less than 1% alcohol, and they are usually cheaper than hon-mirin. Well-known Japanese brands for mirin are Takara® and Mitsukan®.

Mitsukan® - a common Japanese brand of mirin.

Characteristics of MirinEdit

Mirin is a clear, gold liquid, and adds a mild sweetness and nice aroma to many Japanese dishes. Often used to help mask the smell of fish and seafood, Mirin also adds luster to ingredients and is a key ingredient in teriyaki sauce.

History of MirinEdit

The use of mirin is said to have begun over 400 years ago. Although it was used for drinking in the beginning, mirin has evolved into a thicker and sweeter mixture, and is now used exclusively for cooking.

Mirin SubstituteEdit

A mixture of normal sake and sugar can be used for mirin if you are unable to find it. The basic ratio of sake and sugar is 3 to 1, for instance:

  • 3 tsp (1 Tbsp) Sake
  • 1 tsp Sugar

Mixed thoroughly, this ratio makes 1⅓ Tbsp of mirin substitute.


Setsuko Yoshizuka @