amazake

First developed in the Kofun period (around 250 to 538 AD), amazake became so popular in Japan that it’s even mentioned in the Nihon Shoki, a text compiled in 720AD that comprises the oldest official history of Japan.
It has been known for its health benefits since back then, and now it has earned the nickname "drinkable IV drip" because of the nutrients in it. Amazake is easy-to-digest and gluten-free.
This article will tell you all you need to know about this Japanese healthy fermented rice drink, from what it is, its health benefits, how to drink, how to make, recipes that you can make with it, and of course where to buy it!

What is Amazake?

what is amazake

Amazake is a Japanese traditional, low or non-alcohol sweet drink made with fermented rice. Amazake is written as 甘酒 in Japanese and has a literal meaning of "sweet alcoholic drink" or "sweet sake" (甘 means "sweet" and 酒 means "sake", Japanese alcoholic beverage made with fermented rice).
Amazake is made with fermented rice by using the koji starter Aspergillus oryzae, called rice koji. It contains vitamin B1, B2, B6, folic acid, dietary fiber, oligosaccharide, cysteine, arginine and glutamine. There are several benefits you can get from drinking amazake: promotes beauty and healthy skin, relieves constipation, relieves fatigue, and relieves depressive symptoms and PMS.
You can read the section about amazake's health benefit below to know more what goods it can bring to your body!

Amazake in History and Culture

Amazake has been favored by the Japanese for a long time as it dates back from the Kofun period (around 250 to 538 AD). Amanotamuznake, an early version of amazake, is mentioned in the Nihon Shoki, the second-oldest book of classical Japanese history compiled in 720 AD. It has been known for its health benefits since back then.
Amazake is frequently enjoyed as a hot drink on cold winter days. It is a popular drink during New Year in Japan, and is also drunk during Hina Matsuri (Doll Festival) festival held on March 3rd every year, instead of the mildly alcoholic shirozake that was traditionally served on this day because amazake is made in a certain way that it contains no alcohol. But not only great for drinking, amazake can be enjoyed in several ways and can be used as a sweetener's substitute in making sweets and snacks.

The Taste of Amazake

What does Amazake taste like

Amazake is sweet in taste and aroma. It has a natural sweetness from rice even without adding sugar. But if it’s made with sake lees, then the sweetness is added by sugar and has low alcohol content so the taste might be a little more boozy than regular amazake. Amazake’s consistency is thick, so it’s perfect to be enjoyed hot during cold weather.
Amazake is made with rice koji, so it’s only natural for the drink to have rice grains in them. This thick, porridge-like consistency is one of the main attractive points of amazake texture. But, there is grain-less amazake which has a smoother consistency.
The color of amazake made with rice is white like milk to light beige. But it can turn to brownish, especially when you make it yourself because of the chemical reaction between the sugar and amino acids in amazake that resulted in a brown substance. This phenomenon is called the Maillard reaction.

Does Amazake Contain Alcohol? ~Introducing 2 Types of Amazake

There are two types of amazake, the one made with rice koji which is alcohol-free and the one made with sake lees which has low alcohol content.

Amazake Made With Rice Koji

Amazake made with rice koji has plenty of nutrients, very high in nutritional value, and doesn't contain any alcohol. It tastes sweet and very aromatic without using any sugar and the calorie is low.

This non-alcoholic amazake is made by mixing plain steamed rice and water with rice koji. Rice koji is rice that has been inoculated with Aspergillus oryzae, the fungus that is the basis for many kinds of fermented foods such as miso, natto, and soy sauce.
Amazake made with rice koji is suitable for everyone, and the best amazake for you who can't drink alcohol or want to make amazake for children.
Check out about how to make White Rice Amazake and Brown Rice Amazake easily at home!

Amazake Made With Rice Koji

Amazake Made With Sake Lees

The amazake made with sake lees has little alcohol that remains from the sake lees. This type of amazake is usually added with sugar as well so it has higher calories, and the sweetness might not be as aromatic as the one made with rice koji.

Sake lees or sake kasu (酒粕) is the lees left over after sake has been extracted. The amazake made with sake lees also has plenty of nutrients, so it seems good for your health. However, we cannot hope for all the good health and beauty benefits because of the alcohol content and higher calories. If you can't drink alcohol or want to make amazake for children, let's not choose the amazake made with sake less.
The amazake made with sake lees has ABV under 1%, so even when sold in shops, it’s not categorized as an alcoholic drink, and sold as a soft drink. So, be aware when choosing the amazake and look for its ingredients.

Amazake Made With Sake Lees

Is Amazake Safe For Children and Pregnant Women?

is amazake safe

The amazake made of rice and koji is alcohol-free and has no additional sugar, so it's completely safe and consumable for children and pregnant women. This non-alcoholic amazake is often fed to weaning babies since it’s so easy to digest.
But be careful as there is also amazake made with sake lees that has a low alcohol content. If you want to make amazake for children and pregnant women, please choose the amazake made without sake lees.

Amazake's Health Benefits

Both rice koji amazake and sake lees amazake contain plenty of nutrients that are good for health and beauty. Here, we will introduce amazake health benefits.

#1 An Energy Source For the Brain

amazake for energy source

Glucose, which accounts for almost 20% of amazake nutritional components, is efficiently absorbed by the body. By taking glucose, you will get energy, and it will refresh your brain. Drinking before work or study has the effect of activating the brain. Amazake is said to have the same ingredient for the IV drip from the hospital to help you energize but with healthy and natural ingredients.

#2 Support Your Diet

amazake for diet

Aside from being an energy source for the brain, glucose, which is abundant in rice koji amazake, helps digestion and raises blood sugar levels. As a result, the satiety center is stimulated and it becomes easier to feel full. You’ll refrain from snacking, eating sweets and high-calorie foods while you are on a diet. If you drink amazake at that time, your stomach will be filled and you will be able to maintain your diet plan.

#3 Support Good Intestinal Environment

amazake for digestive system

Amazake contains dietary fiber and oligosaccharides. Oligosaccharide becomes food for good bacteria like Bifidobacterium. It increases the number of good bacteria in the intestines and regulates the intestinal environment. Meanwhile, there are two types of dietary fiber, water-soluble and insoluble, and amazake contains both, but insoluble dietary fiber is particularly high. This insoluble dietary fiber has the function of promoting defecation by stimulating the intestines which helps prevent and relieve constipation. Once the intestinal environment is in place, constipation can be resolved and skin problems can be expected to improve.

#4 Helps Maintain Skin Health and Supports Energy Metabolism

amazake for skin and metabolism

The B vitamins such as vitamins B2 and B6 and niacin contained in amazake promote the metabolism of the proteins that make up the skin. When metabolism is activated, skin waste products are removed, and you can make your skin firm and healthy. Vitamins B1 and pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) in amazake are also vitamins related to skin and hair health. It is said to be effective for improving physical strength and beauty through efficient energy metabolism. It also works to eliminate fatigue and stress.

#5 Rich in Essential Amino Acids

amazake rich in essential amino acids

The human body is composed of about 20 kinds of amino acids, and when it lacks the essential amino acid, the body condition tends to collapse more easily. Amazake is rich in essential amino acids that cannot be produced by the body. It is an excellent fermented food that contains well-balanced nutrients that are good to maintain the body condition.

The Most Effective Way to Drink Amazake

The Appropriate Amount to Drink Amazake

The appropriate amount for daily drinking amazake habits is to consume about 200-270ml a day. There are about 81kcal per 100ml of amazake, so drinking about 90ml at a time, 2-3 times a day is appropriate and will help your stomach feel better. The sugar content of rice koji amazake is easily absorbed, so if you drink too much, you may be over-calorie. Therefore, if you drink a lot of amazake, it is important to reduce the amount of rice you eat each day. But, considering the amino acid content, the calories are modest compared to general energy drinks (200kcal).
Please be careful that amazake made by sake lees has additional sugar to it, so the calories are increased by the amount of sugar.
Also, if you only drink amazake once or twice, it will not immediately give significant effects for long-lasting health and beauty effects. Drinking amazake daily has a positive effect on beauty and health. It will give the nutrients that your body needs, and the health effects will appear and last long.

Appropriate Amount to Drink Amazake

The Best Time to Drink Amazake

● Morning
Drink in the morning and charge energy in a short time. Awaken your brain with the glucose contained in amazake. It also has the effect of raising body temperature, so the body is awakened and metabolism is activated. If you increase your metabolism in the morning, you can keep your metabolism high all day, which is also effective for dieting.

● Noon
Drinking in the noon is effective for improving concentration and vitality of work in the afternoon. Amazake, which has a good absorption rate in the body, can efficiently take sugars and vitamin B complex for recovery from fatigue.

● Before sleep at night
If you drink it before going to sleep at night, you can recover from fatigue. The gentle sweetness and scent, and its effect of warming the body also play a role in a good night's sleep.

How to Drink Amazake

How To Drink Amazake

Amazake is often thought of as a winter drink, but it is also recommended to chill it and drink it in the summer. It is delicious either as hot or cold beverage. You can add other ingredients to make it even more flavorful, such as cinnamon, ginger, or vanilla extract.
When you buy amazake made with rice and good quality koji, you can taste the authentic sweet flavor and aroma of koji. It’s already delicious to drink as it is, but it might be too thick for you who are not used to it. You can dilute the amazake with water. But there are some amazake sold in store that can instantly be drunk without diluting in water.
Here are the recommended ways for preparing amazake to drink!

How To Drink Hot Amazake

This is the most standard way to drink hot amazake.

Just put it in a pot and warm it, add ginger if you like.
(Ingredients) ・ Amazake… 300g ・ Water… 600cc ・ Ginger… A piece

How To Make
1. Put amazake and water in a pot and stir well.
2. Add grated ginger
3. Stir slowly over medium heat
4. Bring it to a boil and let it cool a little, and you're done.

Put the excess amazake in the refrigerator. If you drink it again, warm it up again.

How To Drink Cold Amazake

Cold amazake recommended for summer

The point is to warm it once and then cool it down.
(Ingredients) ・ Amazake… 300g ・ Water… 600cc

How To Make
1. Put amazake and water in a pot and stir well.
2. Stir slowly over medium heat
3. Put it in a container with a lid and cool it in the refrigerator to complete.

The sweetness of amazake will increase once the fire is turned on. The recommended container for leftover amazake is any container with an airtight lid so moisture will not escape. That way, the taste and mouthfeel of amazake will be stable.
You can also use amazake for jam on bread, use amazake when cooking as a healthier substitute for sugar, mirin, and soy sauce, or add it to smoothies, mix with yogurt, soymilk, etc.

How to Make Amazake

After knowing what amazake is and its health benefits, now we will talk about how to make amazake.
You can use a yogurt maker, rice cooker, or thermos to make amazake at home. In the making of amazake, temperature control is important. You need to always maintain the temperature of rice and rice koji mixture between 131 and 140 ºF (55-60 ºC) in the making process. Otherwise, it won’t become sweet, or it will become sour, or the grains of rice koji will become hard.
To read all about how to make amazake, please read the articles below. You can also make amazake from brown rice!

how to make amazake article

How to Make Amazake (Sweet Sake)
Japanese sweet sake (Amazake) is known for its health benefits since Japan's Kofun Period. Learn how to make homemade amazake easily using fermenter, rice cooker, or thermos (3 ways). You can also find the grainless amazake recipe: simple and delicious amazake without rice grain made with rice koji powder.
Click here to read more >>


how to make brown rice amazake

What is Brown Rice Amazake (Brown Rice Sweet Sake)
Brown Rice Amazake is the Japanese sweet sake made by combining brown rice and koji (Aspergillus Oryzae) and fermenting the ingredients. It has a unique and earthy taste of brown rice. Let's make brown rice amazake with these simple amazake recipes (with only 2 steps, mixing and fermenting).
Click here to read more >>

Delicious Recipes Using Amazake

Amazake is not only great to be added to smoothies, mix with soymilk, yogurt, or other drinks. It is also great to be added to various foods!
Here are simple but delicious amazake recipes that you can make easily at home!

%% recipeID=recipe-8ksh0l0vz, title=Amazake-Marinated Grilled Salmon $$ %% recipeID=recipe-8ksh4hh4g, title=Amazake Pancake with Rice Flour $$ %% recipeID=recipe-8ksh5xy1y, title=Amazake and Soy Milk Ice Cream $$

Where to Buy Amazake

You can buy amazake from online stores, and offline stores such as grocery stores, department store food halls, supermarkets, or health food stores. Look for it at the asian food and drinks aisle or general drinks aisle.
You can buy high quality amazake from our store too! Check the product recommendations below!

Tips for Choosing Amazake

When you buy amazake, it’s important to check whether it is a good quality amazake or not. The first thing to check is whether the amazake is made with rice koji or sake lees. If you want an amazake that is safe to be consumed by children and pregnant women, choose the one made with rice koji without sake lees because the one made by sake lees will have alcohol content and additional sweetener in it.
Second, check whether the amazake has additives or not, such as preservatives, additional sweetener, food coloring, etc. The good quality amazake is the one without any additives.

For your information if you buy amazake straight from Japan, here are the kanji you want to look for: 甘酒、あまざけ = Amazake 酒粕 = Sake kasu/sake lees 米 = Rice 麴、こうじ = Koji 米麴 = Rice koji

Find the no-alcohol, no-additives, good quality amazake made from rice koji in our store It is in the form of a paste, so it can be applied to bread as jam or used as a sweetener when making sweets.

Amazake FAQ

What is Amazake?
Amazake is a Japanese traditional sweet drink made with fermented rice called rice koji. It can be low or non-alcohol. It is known for its health benefits since Japan’s Kofun period (about 300 to 538 AD).
What does amazake taste like?
Amazake tastes sweet, very aromatic, and the consistency is thick. It is perfect to be enjoyed hot during cold weather, and it also great to be enjoyed as cold drink during summer.
Does amazake contain alcohol?
Generally, no. Amazake is an alcohol-free drink that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.
However, there is a kind of amazake that has a slight alcohol content. This amazake is made with sake lees instead of koji.
Is amazake safe to consume?
The amazake made of rice and koji is alcohol-free and has no additional sugar, so it's completely safe and consumable for children and pregnant women. This amazake is often fed to weaning babies since it’s so easy to digest. But be careful as there is also amazake made with sake lees that has a low alcohol content. If you want to make amazake for children and pregnant women, please choose the amazake made without sake lees.
What is the difference between amazake made with sake lees and the one made with koji?
Amazake made with sake lees contains a slight amount of alcohol so the taste might be a little more boozy than regular amazake. This type of amazake is usually added with sugar as well so the sweetness might not be as aromatic as the one made with rice koji.
Is amazake healthy?
Amazake contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), the essential amino acids, and glucose that is said to have an effect on recovery from fatigue.
Amazake is sometimes nicknamed drinkable IV drip because the nutrient content is close to an IV drip.
Where can I buy amazake?
You can buy amazake from online stores, and offline stores such as grocery stores, department stores, supermarkets, or health food stores. Look for it at the asian food and drinks aisle or general drinks aisle. When you buy amazake, it’s important to check whether it is a good quality amazake or not. You can buy the guaranteed no-alcohol, no-additives, good quality amazake made with rice koji in our store. It is in the form of paste.
How to make amazake? Can I make it at home??
You can make amazake at home. You can use yogurt maker, rice cooker, or thermos to make amazake at home. In the making of amazake, temperature control is important. Otherwise, it won’t become sweet, or it will become sour, or the grains of rice koji will become hard.
Check the articles about "How to Make White Rice Amazake" and "How to Make Brown Rice Amazake".
How to drink amazake effectively?
The appropriate amount for daily drinking amazake habits is to consume about 200-270ml a day. There are about 81kcal per 100ml of amazake, so drinking about 90ml at a time, 2-3 times a day is appropriate and will help your stomach feel better.
If you drink amazake instead of eating breakfast, it will be a good support for your diet plan. Beautiful skin and recovery from fatigue are more effective if you drink it after dinner.
I like to cook. Are there foods or drinks that I can make with amazake?
Yes, there are plenty of foods and drinks that you can make with amazake! Amazake is great to be added to smoothies, mix with soymilk, yogurt, or other drinks. It also great to be added to various foods!
Check this recipes for what you can make with amazake.

Recommended Amazake Products