Adding Sake to Your Instant Ramen Is a Brilliant Hack

Japan is turning to everyone's favorite rice spirit to spruce up instant noodles

Instant ramen may be an archetype of college cooking, but that doesn't mean there isn't a rabid postgrad fan base dedicated to making the most out of the packaged noodles. A few slices of scallion and perhaps a plump poached egg are always welcome, but people in Japan are taking cup-of-noodle cuisine one step further with a secret ingredient: a splash of sake.

Before you write this hack off as a by-product of an inebriated late night in the kitchen, this surprising addition makes perfect sense. Classic recipes for ramen are often flavored with mirin, a sweeter, less alcoholic version of sake that's a Japanese pantry staple.

The editors over at Japan Today tried the instant noodle hack with promising results. After cooking the noodles, they suggest adding up to a tablespoon of sake—less if you're new to the spirit—with the seasoning packet. The sake adds a pleasant sweetness to the broth alongside a richer flavor without any of the burn the liquor is infamous for.