Mirin is an essential condiment in Japanese cuisine. It’s used for almost everything, from sauces to ramen.
Mirin is a type of sake or rice wine but has higher sugar content, usually around 14 percent. Its flavor notes are sweet and tangy, much like a dessert wine.
Not all places have access to mirin. Unless you’re in a big city or a specialty store, you’re unlikely to find this condiment. When you need it, the best thing you can do is make a mirin substitute.
· Dry White Wine and Rice Vinegar
When it comes to mirin, the flavor notes you want is tanginess and sweetness. If that’s the case, the best substitute for mirin is dry white wine. Dry white wine is sharp, but it’s also extra sour.
If you’re using dry white wine, add 1 tsp of sugar for every tablespoon you use. You can do the same with rice vinegar too.
· Aji Mirin
Mirin is not likely for you if you’re looking for a condiment that has much less alcohol content. Your best choice for a mirin replacement is what we know as aji mirin.
Aji mirin, literally translated to “tastes like mirin,” follows a general combination of sugar, water, and a bit of alcohol. The taste is as close as possible to actual mirin, but with less alcohol.
· More Dry and Golden Wines
Another great mirin substitute is vermouth and dry sherry. Vermouth is quite sweet, with a bit of a bitter aftertaste and very little sugar. Meanwhile, dry sherry is sweet and golden, with some nutty notes that give the food some earthiness.
When using vermouth or dry sherry, the only thing you need is to add sugar. Put 1 to 2 tablespoons of white sugar for every ½ cup of either beverage that you use.
If you want, you can also use sweet marsala wine with the same sugar add-on to kill the extra tanginess.