Rice Wine: Benefits & How to Make

by John Staughton last updated -

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You may be unaware of rice wine if you haven’t traveled in Asia or tried many exotic forms of alcohol, but it possesses a number of health benefits you should know about.

What is Rice Wine?

Although labeled a “wine,” rice wine bears more of a similarity to beer, as it is created from fermented rice or grains, as are most other beer varieties. As such, it is not gluten-free. It is consumed throughout South and East Asia, in many different cuisines and drinking. Rice wine is available in a variety of flavors – some are sweet, while others are light – so it is nearly impossible to describe the beverage at once – akin to telling someone who has never drunk beer what all beers taste like.

The most popular types worldwide are Shaoxing, mirin, and sake. It is stronger than beer or most wines, coming in at about 15%-20% alcohol by volume (ABV).

  • Rice wine is often confused with rice wine vinegar (also called rice vinegar), which has been further fermented into an acid for cooking and tastes a bit sweeter than traditional white vinegar.
  • Rice wine meant for cooking can usually be stored for a few years in a cool, dark place (such as a cabinet) and still keep well.
  • High-quality types are intended for drinking, such as sake. They taste best when drunk shortly after they’re sold, and should definitely be consumed quickly after the bottle has been opened.

Rice Wine Benefits

Various research studies conducted on this beverage in East Asia suggest that it is beneficial for health in a number of ways:

  • Promotes blood circulation
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Boost the immunity and metabolism
  • The presence of lactic acid and bacteria in this wine variety makes it a probiotic, thereby promoting stomach health
  • Reduces the size of cancerous tumors and free radicals that cause cancer
  • Serves as an anti-bacterial substance
  • Slows down the signs of aging and protects against harmful effects of UV rays

How to Make?

It’s easy to make rice wine. Just follow the steps mentioned below.


  • 2 cups glutenous “sticky” rice
  • 1 ball Asian rice yeast
  • 3-liter seal-able container
  • Cheesecloth or dishcloth


  • Step 1: Cook the rice according to package directions, making sure it is sticky when done.
  • Step 2: Spread the rice out on a baking sheet to cool.
  • Step 3: Break up the yeast ball in a small bowl using a spoon.
  • Step 4: Spoon a layer of room-temperature rice into the container and sprinkle some yeast on top, then repeat the process until all your yeast and rice has been layered in the container.
  • Step 5: Seal the container and wait! Place the container in a warm place for five days. If you check it daily, you can see the yeast will be breaking down the rice. The resulting liquid, the beginnings of the wine, will pool at the bottom of the container. Feel free to taste a little!
  • Step 6: After two weeks, the wine should be ready. Pour it through a cheesecloth to strain the remaining rice, and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to use it for drinking or cooking.

Rice Wine vs Mirin vs Sake

Both mirin and sake are types of rice wine

  • Mirin is typically used as a cooking wine in Japanese cuisine
  • Sake is famous for being served in Japanese restaurants worldwide, particularly accompanied with sushi

Word of Warning: Alcohol can impair your judgment, a particularly dangerous reality when operating heavy machinery. Women who are pregnant should not consume alcohol, as it can cause fetal alcohol syndrome in infants. Excessive drinking can also lead to serious health problems, such as cancer and heart failure, and in severe cases, even death.

About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, and publisher who earned his English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana (USA). He is the co-founder of a literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and calls the most beautiful places in the world his office. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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