Rice wine is an alcoholic beverage created by using active ingredients such as yeast, lactic acid bacteria, and fungi to turn starches into sugars and produce alcohol.
While Sake, Japan’s national beverage, is a rice wine mainly used for drinking, mirin is used in Japanese cooking, mostly to enhance soy or teriyaki sauces and fish or rice dishes.
Mirin, having a tangy sweet flavor, works well in noodle-based stir-fry dishes and as marinades and glazes. Many Asian countries produce their own versions of rice wine as well.
Shaoxing wine is used in Chinese and Taiwanese cooking and is drunk for its alcohol content of 18 to 25 percent. South Korea produces makkoli and dansul, and Cambodia makes sombai.
Rice vinegar results from using the "Mother of Vinegar" acid and a dash of rice wine. It is an acetic vinegar similar to numerous other vinegar products sold at supermarkets.
It has an acidic structure with a tangy, mouth-puckering flavor. However, sweetness is still a defining feature of most kinds of rice vinegar, similar to any fruit-born vinegar.
Being milder and less acidic than standard distilled white vinegar, it’s a good choice for zesty salad dressings and homemade pickles or for pepping up steamed veggies and sauces.
Rice vinegars come in an array of colors, mostly pale with light yellow tinges, but they can run darker depending on origin, the type of rice, and any added spices or herbs.
Brown rice may yield light copper tones, while glutinous black sticky rice will likely result in darker hues with an umami flavor, especially when mixed with other types of grains.