Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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mirin sometimes incorrectly described as a ‘rice wine’, is a spirit-based liquid sweetener of Japan, used only for cooking and especially in marinades and glazes and simmered dishes. The alcohol content, around 13 per cent, is not always relevant; cooks sometimes burn off the alcohol, leaving only the special sweet taste which mirin imparts.

Mirin is normally sold in food shops rather than by wine merchants or liquor stores, and is normally available wherever oriental foods are on sale. Obtaining it in western countries used to be a problem; hence the advice in many cookery books to substitute sweet sherry if necessary (not a good idea, better just to use a little sugar syrup).