“Ama-sake.”Sweet alcohol.Refreshing and smooth, the secret to beating the summer heat. In this article, I want to tell you about Japan’s traditional rice beverage and natural energy drink, amazake! Please note that this article contains affiliate links, which means that your purchasing a product via that link may provide us with a commission. We make it our goal to direct you to products that you will love and that will enhance your wa experience. What Is Amazake?
Although amazake means “sweet alcohol,” the variety called “koji amazake” does not contain any sake and is safe for pregnant women, children, and elderly people*. It’s so powerfully healthy that it is commonly known in Japan as a drinkable medical IV drip.*People concerned with blood sugar levels or gut mold should consult with a doctor before drinking.
It’s so powerfully healthy that it is commonly known in Japan as a drinkable medical IV drip.
Koji amazake is made from only 2 ingredients: rice and rice covered in”koji” (麹). Koji is the powerful mold also used to make other traditional Japanese foods like miso and soy sauce.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Amazake?
During this season, where the world is extremely health and immune-conscious, everyone is looking for ways to beef up their immune systems. In Japan, since before the Edo Period, people have been drinking amazake to combat heat-induced fatigue. Now it is being advertised as an immune booster. Why? It is full of powerful nutrients, including:
- the essential amino acids
- vitamins B1, B2, and B6
- dietary fiber
This means it is also great for digestion, lends a healthy glow to skin and hair, and helps to prevent cancer and dementia*. *We at Wafuu are not doctors or dieticians. These health claims are not guarantees. They are opinions based on Japanese history and culture, as well as data found in health magazines and available on the Internet. Please do your own thorough research before making any conclusions.
Where Can I Find Amazake?
If you live outside Japan, you can buy amazake on Amazon:
But why not add a little more wa to your life by making homemade amazake?
If you grew up in a traditional Japanese family, perhaps your mother or grandmother made amazake. Perhaps she made it in a pot and kept it warm in the kotatsu (heated table used in wintertime), and you know the delicious, sweet aroma that fills the house when it’s done! Wherever you live now, you can have that same satisfying experience by using just a few ingredients and following some simple steps.
Homemade Amazake Recipe
- rice cooker with a porridge setting (buy on Amazon)
- medium-thick kitchen towel (buy on Amazon)
- scale (buy on Amazon)
- thermometer (buy on Amazon)
- “shamoji” rice spatula (buy on Amazon)
- 150g of rice
- 200g rice koji (Buy onAmazon)
- 500~600mL water
- 200mL cold water, added later
1. Rinse rice thoroughly before making rice porridge.2. When the porridge is done, add 200ml of cold water. Stir with rice spatula until temperature reaches 55°C/131°F. Note: If the temp drops below 55°C/122°F, it may take longer for your amazake to sweeten.If the temp surpasses 70°C/158°F the koji will die, and your amazake will not turn out. 3. Use baking scale to measure out 200g of rice koji.
Add to porridge and combine thoroughly with rice spatula. 4. Set your rice cooker to “Keep Warm.”
5. With the “Keep Warm” setting on, allow the mixture to rest for 6-12 hours. The longer you leave it, the sweeter it will become!
Note: amazake will keep for 7-10 days in the fridge up to 2 months frozen
That’s it! Simple.
Personally, I like to make my amazake overnight and wake up to its gently sweet aroma floating from the kitchen. Although amazake is traditionally a wintertime beverage, in the heat and humidity of this summer, try it cold, with a couple of ice cubes and a pinch of grated ginger. You can also pour it in a silicone ice cube tray to make amazake ice cream, or use it as a sugar substitute in baking, a marinade for meat, or a flavoring agent in cooking. This summer, let’s beat the heat with homemade amazake! What about you? Have you ever made homemade amazake? Do you have any good ideas for how to enjoy amazake?
To help you get started–
Rice cooker (porridge setting) Rice Koji 1K (5 batches) Rice Koji 400g