”Mirin” is a beverage just like ”sake”
It is said that ”mirin” was born during the Sengoku period in Japan. Sweet ”sake”, such as ”white sake” which had already existed from ancient times, was fortified with alcohol to prevent it from going bad. In those days ”mirin” was not a condiment, but a beverage. Apparently, it was not as sweet as the ”mirin” of today, as the technique for fermentation were yet to be developed.
In the Edo period, fermentation techniques developed further, and ”mirin” became a luxury liqueur, popular especially among women and those who could not drink much alcohol. It was later that ”mirin” became a condiment to add richness and full taste to dishes.
”Home to mirin” trustworthy taste
Mikawa area in Aichi prefecture is blessed with natural water and a mild climate suitable for brewing ”mirin”, and has been an active production area for more than 200 years. Even today, the area is the home to ”mirin” manufacturing with the largest number of ”mirin” brewers in Japan. Among these, ”Sumiya Bunjiro Brewery” is an old establishment founded in 1910 that continues the traditional manufacturing method. They also introduced the industrial manufacturing method after the War, but the focus is on the ”mirin” made in the traditional method, using glutinous rice, rice malt and distilled rice spirit alone. Steamed glutinous rice and rice malt are prepared together with distilled spirit, saccharified and matured, pressed, and after a long period of maturation, becomes ”mirin”. The alcohol content is about 14 degrees, and is quite strong.
”Mirin” has a mellow and deep sweetness, which is good as a condiment, and also delicious to drink, as the people had in olden times. Recently, there are ”mirin-like” condiments sold in supermarkets, which are a mixture of starch syrup, fragrance and acidulant, but this is inevitably ”fake mirin”. Authentic ”mirin” tastes good even as a beverage.
- Sumiya Bunjiro Brewery Co., Ltd.
- 6-3 Nishihama-cho, Hekinan city, Aichi