This Ginger Amazake is the best warming and comforting winter drink.
Amazake is a traditional Japanese drink made from fermented rice. It’s thought to date from as far back as 250 AD, and literally means “sweet sake”, although it’s usually non-alcoholic or has a very low alcohol content, depending on how it’s made.
Amazake is made using koji mould, which doesn’t sound particularly pleasant, but don’t be put off! This fungus, also known as aspergillus oryzae, is really important in traditional Japanese cuisine, and is also used to make miso, soy sauce, and natto.
Traditionally amazake is served as a hot drink, which is made by heating together amazake and ginger. This drink used to be served by street vendors, and nowadays is popular served at stalls at festivals. It’s also often served at shrines at New Year’s.
Being naturally sweet, Amazake can also be used for desserts or smoothies. It’s often used for weaning babies as it’s easy to digest.
Unprocessed, it looks like rice pudding, but when it’s pureed it has the consistency of cream; thin it out with water and it’s like milk.
While bottled or canned amazake is readily available, making it yourself is surprisingly easy. All you need is rice, kome kōji, which is available at many supermarkets or online, and plain water.
You can make it either with a rice cooker or yogurt maker.
If you buy a ready-made amazake, this Ginger Amazake drink couldn’t be easier to make! Just grate some ginger and let steep in boiling water. Then strain to get rid of the ginger and stir in the amazake.
I love the combination of the naturally sweet amazake with the fiery ginger. They pair together to create a delicious and nutritious warming drink that’s perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up! It’s also vegan, gluten-free and naturally sweet.
If you try out this recipe or anything else from my blog, I’d love for you to take a photo and tag it #rhiansrecipes on Instagram! It would really make my day to see what you come up with!
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1cm ginger, grated (or sub 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger)
- 4 teaspoons amazake, or more to taste
- Add ginger to hot water and let steep for 5 minutes
- Strain into a mug and stir in the amazake
- For an easier version, you can just add the ground ginger, boiling water and amazake into a mug at the same time and stir together
- Enjoy immediately!