Food - Drink
Amazake: The Sweet Japanese Rice Drink You Should Know
Sake is the most famous rice-based drink from Japan, but there's another beverage made from fermented rice that can give you health benefits with no hangover: amazake. Amazake means "sweet sake," but is usually nonalcoholic, an opaque white color, and has a thick consistency that is mixed with hot or cold water before drinking.
Due to its thick, syrupy texture with bits of rice mixed in, amazake is also called sweet porridge, and has been made using koji-fermented rice since the Kofun period. This beverage is full of beneficial microorganisms with potential anti-aging and anti-fatigue properties and benefits for one's skin, metabolism, and digestive system.
Amazake is traditionally consumed during summer matsuri festivals in Japan, and there’s even a dedicated festival for the drink held at the Umenomiya Taisha Shrine in Kyoto, though this beverage can be enjoyed year-round. Plain amazake is often blended with other flavors and can even be used in savory dishes.
The type of amazake for drinking straight is called koji amazake, which is alcohol-free, but there's also kasu amazake, which is often used in cooking and contains a low percentage of alcohol. In Japan, amazake can be bought at cafes or stands, but outside of Japan, this drink can be bought from specialty websites.