What is mirin (味醂)?

Mirin is an essential condiment used in Japanese cuisine to brings strong umami in the dish.

It is a type of rice wine similar to sake, but with a lower alcohol content and higher sugar content. The sugar is produced naturally during the fermentation process.

So, no sugars are added (unless it is a mirin-like seasoning).


Mirin is used to add sweetness, but it s complex & sophisticated sweetness enriches the umami flavor of the dish.

Mirin also has following features:

  • Add shiny/glossy appearance for the dish
  • Alcohol removes/masks fishy/gamey smell of meat
  • Alcohol hardens the fresh (so, good to cook with fish with soft meat)

Type of mirin

  • Hon-mirin (Real mirin)

14% alcohol and is produced by a long maturing process.

  • Mirin-like seasoning

<1% alcohol, short production time, sugar, salt and flavor enhancers are added


Secret final touch for clear soup

Add a few drops of mirin or sake in the bowl of clear soup right before it's served. No need to re-heat. Alcohol evaporates right away in a hot soup.

These few drops of mirin enriches the umami flavor of dashi soup.

Mirin syrup

If you boil Hon-mirin up to half, you will get syrup-like liquid. This can be used as a sweet syrup/sauce for a dessert.