Sake, shochu, mirin - Is it all just rice wine?


In Japan, of course, there are many spirits for different occasions. As in Germany, the Japanese statistically prefer beer above all. But nevertheless, the country's own rice wines are well known as the true flagship of Japan. The differences between some of the popular Japanese alcoholic beverages are presented here.

Japanese Sake, shochu and mirin


It is possible that sake has been around for almost two thousand years. Today, this spirit is mainly drunk with food. However, sake is also offered to guests before and after the meal. In a double fermentation, sake is made from polished and starchy rice grains, koji (yeast fungus) and water. Although sake is often referred to as rice wine, the production process is more akin to beer. The flavors of good sake are very balanced and varied. The alcohol content is usually between 15 and 20 percent. Sake can be drunk chilled or warmed. We prefer cold sake straight from the refrigerator, preferably the 


The Japanese most commonly consume shochu as an alcoholic beverage, whether neat on ice or as a mixed drink. Unlike sake, shochu has a much higher alcohol content and is not always made from rice. The fermentations can be quite different: common basic ingredients include barley, sweet potato or buckwheat. Due to the distillation process and the subsequent aging in barrels, Shochu is a real brandy. In our assortment you will find Ichiko-Shochu made of barley, which reminds of a mild whiskey in taste.

Shochu on Ice


Mirin is a classic in the kitchen. This sweet rice wine is mainly used for cooking, but can be also used for cocktails or even pure drinking when the quality is right. It is often used together with sake and soy sauce as a base for broths, but mirin can also be used for marinades and dressings. Its sweet and a bit spicy flavor makes it a versatile cooking wine, a true staple of Japanese pantry.

MYCONBINI tip: If you want to drink sake in a completely different way, try the Japanese Mio Sparkling Sake from Takara Shuzo or, for a relaxed evening with friends, the mix of sake and tonic, made in Germany. And if you're looking for a Christmas gift for your loved ones, how about the MYCONBINI Sake Starter Set?

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