One of the more popular ways to celebrate the start of the spring season in Japan is to try traditional foods and beverages, as with any festival season, But one Japanese drink you may not be overly familiar with is Amazake. So what is Amazake and why is it so delicious and popular?
Actually, Amazake is also known as “sweet sake” or “sweet porridge,” and has been a popular healthy beverage in Japan for as long as the region has recorded history! While one of its nicknames is “sweet sake,” Amazake doesn’t necessarily have to contain any alcoholic content. In fact, the drink most times is non-alcoholic, although some brands have recently begun to sell Amazake with a small amount of alcoholic content.
As mentioned previously, it is generally considered to be a healthy drink, primarily due to the fact that it is made from rice that is fermented by water and koji (a fungus used commonly in Japan and other Asian countries for fermentation processes such as this). Surprisingly, even though Amazake is usually drunk simply for enjoyment, due to its health benefits it is often used as a remedy for hangovers, fatigue, stomach issues, and many other common symptoms due to its high nutritional value and vitamin content.
Photo from Just One Cookbook
In addition to being a healthy drink, Amazake is highly customizable, and can be consumed all year round! The drink is commonly served hot during the winter months as a comfort beverage and is as popular as hot cocoa in other regions of the world. When the world is a bit warmer, Amazake can also be served cold as a refreshing way to beat the heat! Outside of changing the temperature of the beverage depending on the weather and the season, it can be further customized via its texture.
Based on how the drink is filtered, it can be a thick, chunky drink befitting of the nickname “sweet porridge” or it can be a thin, creamy drink that goes down much smoother. If you’ve never had Amazake before, you should try it multiple times so that you can get a feel for the diverse forms in which it can be produced! If you aren’t the biggest fan of drinking it in one form, maybe you’ll like it another way. You’ll never know unless you try!
Photo from Bokksu
Amazake isn’t just a drink, though. The flavor also gets implemented in snacks, desserts, and other foods. In fact, our friends over at Bokksu even use Amazake to flavor their Funwari Meijin Mochi Puffs, a yummy snack you can buy here and try for yourself! Outside of these mochi puffs, Amazake can be used in bread, cakes, and other pastries. The possibilities for this delicious flavor are endless. You can experiment with Amazake and maybe you might even invent or discover the next big Amazake trend on your own!
Featured photo from Matcha JP