What is Hon Mirin?
Hon Mirin is a high-quality Japanese sweet liqueur and one of the most important seasonings in Japanese cuisine, where it is used in many ways. The most famous example is probably teriyaki sauce. In Japan, Hon Mirin is often mistakenly referred to as sweet rice wine or cooking sake.
Hon Mirin means "real" mirin, this differs from the cheap variants, the so-called "false" mirin or "mirin-style spices", which are not as high quality in terms of ingredients and which only have a low alcohol content or are salted (Shio Mirin).
Hon Mirin consists of only natural ingredients, namely steamed glutinous rice, rice koji and rice shochu, and is matured for at least 40 to 60 days. During this time, the enzymes in the rice koji break down the starch and protein of the glutinous rice to produce various sugars, amino acids and aroma components. The alcohol in the shochu interrupts further fermentation, similar to the production of port wine. Therefore, mirin has an elegant sweetness without any added sugar and can be drunk wonderfully as a liqueur or like a sweet wine. It is an enrichment as an ingredient in cocktails, as a seasoning or as an exciting component for exciting dishes. Mirin contains approx. 14% alcohol, is subject to alcohol tax and cannot be traded in Japan without a licence for the sale of spirits.
It has been handed down that Hon Mirin was first produced in Japan during the Keicho era about 400 years ago and was apparently initially drunk as a high-class sweet liqueur.
It was not until the middle of the Edo period that mirin was also used as a condiment, as it is today. Hon Mirin is carefully made with a lot of time and craftsmanship and is a true craft product, just like sake and shochu.
Hon Mirin has a deep, very complex flavour that comes with a large portion of umami. It has an elegant natural sweetness and is almost syrupy in consistency. It also gives food a wonderful sheen or glaze. The colour and flavour change with ageing. The more Mirin matures, the more delicious, sweet, complex and deep in flavour it becomes. A good example of this is our 20 Years aged Black Mirin .
The Hon Mirin in our shop can be used pure as a (dessert) liqueur, for refining in cooking (e.g. miso soup, teriyaki sauce, dashi or also desserts such as ice cream), for marinating or also as an ingredient for cocktails.