Can you drink mirin? It is not meant for it, here’s why

                by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  September 4, 2021

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Mirin is a cooking wine that contains alcohol, but not very much.

Can you drink mirin? It is not meant for it, here's why

It is not meant to be drunk. It is intended for seasoning food. Some cooking wines are good enough to drink, but pure mirin is hard to find, and mirin found at grocery stores contains added sweeteners and preservatives.

Hon mirin is pure mirin. It has an alcohol frequency of 14 percent. If you are looking to drink mirin cooking wine, this is the only kind of mirin that is drinkable.

Mirin-like condiment tastes exactly like pure mirin but has less than 1 percent alcohol and added ingredients.

This article includes answers to common questions about mirin.

Is mirin drinkable?

There is a drinkable type of mirin: Hon mirin. As long as the ingredients listed are glutinous rice, rice malt, and shochu, you can drink it.

Mirin with other added ingredients is not suitable for drinking.

If you have mirin that says mirin-like seasoning on the bottle, it is not drinkable. You want your mirin to be Hon mirin, or pure/real mirin, to drink as a liquor.

What is mirin?

Mirin is an ingredient that is common in Japanese cuisine. It is a type of cooking rice wine that is similar to sake. Mirin has a lower alcohol content than sake but has more sugar.

No sugar is added to mirin. The sugar in mirin forms naturally during fermentation. When mirin is heated, the alcohol content goes down.

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Mirin is a syrupy liquid used for seasoning, glazing, and tenderizing food and is one of the most popular condiments in Japan.

Sake, as opposed to mirin, is something you can have as a drink, here’s how to consume it properly

What is mirin used for?

Mirin is an ingredient added to fish to reduce the fish smell. Mirin is often served with sushi.

Mirin adds a natural sweet taste to your dish. It can also thicken sauces, making it an excellent choice for marinades and glazes.

What can I make with mirin?

If you are looking to use mirin in a dish, you can make eel sauce (Kabayaki sauce), sushi rice vinaigrette (sushi su), or teriyaki sauce.

You can add mirin to sauces, marinades, and broths to add a sweet, tangy flavor reminiscent of Japanese dishes.

What does mirin taste like?

You have probably tasted mirin before, even if you never cooked with it. Mirin is used in many Japanese dishes, such as teriyaki sauce.

The sweet yet tangy flavor present in Japanese food is mirin.

Where can I get mirin?

Pure mirin is not usually available in grocery stores. Some grocery stores have aji-mirin, which tastes like mirin but usually has added ingredients.

If you are looking for pure mirin, you may have to buy it online. I personally like the organic mirin from Ohsawa.

What are the different types of mirin?

Mirin comes in four types:

What is a substitute for mirin?

Mirin can be substituted with sake and sugar – three parts sake, one part sugar.

Honteri is an alcohol-free substitute for mirin. Rice vinegar is not a good substitute for mirin, or the other way around.

What else can mirin be used for?

Mirin can be used as an added ingredient in rice. Mirin can make rice taste better and improve the quality and consistency.

Mirin can be added to pancake mix in place of milk to thicken the mixture.

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You can also use mirin to remove peculiar smells out of meat, fish, or canned foods.


Mirin is a versatile cooking ingredient that adds a sweet, tangy flavor to dishes. It is not meant to be drunk just like that though.

If you are worried about the alcohol content of mirin while cooking, you can use a mirin-like seasoning or simply heat up the mirin before adding it to your food or allow mirin to cook with your dish.

Next, learn all about Nikiri sauce (a great recipe & the traditional brushing technique)

Ever had trouble finding Japanese recipes that were easy to make?

We now have "cooking Japanese with ease", our full recipe book and video course with step-by-step tutorials on your favorite recipes.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.