Shizuoka Mirin Tasting: Sugii Brewery-Asukayama
This is the very first time I felt compelled to write a tasting report on a Shizuoka mirin (cooking sweet sake)!
But Asukayama brewed by Sugii Brewery in Fujieda City has nothing in common with even the best mirin used in Japanese cooking!
Their junmai honmirin (seasoning sake, no added sugar or alcohol) “Asukayama” is a flagship product of the brewery, and I was able to enjoy it with a Hijiki, making its taste complex. This mirin has a history of over 100 years and at the time was to support the important fish industry in the adjoining town of Yaizu.
It is the only mirin made in Shizuoka Prefecture, and it can be said that it is not only a seasoning product, but also a digestive that can be used as an accompaniment to desserts for example, whichi is very rare for a mirin.
I particularly like their label reminiscent of Asukayama, observation point of the cherry trees from which this mirin takes its name.
I recently used it for making umeshu with plenty of it and shochu distilled by the same brewery, with the diffrence I didn’t have to use any sugar!
Mind you, it is pretty famous all over the country and not easy to obtain but I can assure you this is a must if you want to enjoy a sweet drink away from the beaten tracks at your next repast!
Asukayama Junmai Hon Mirin (true mirin made with junmai sake!)
Alcohol: 14~15 degrees
Bottled in July 2013
Clarity: Very clear
Color: Rich golden
Aroma: Strong and assertive. Fruity. Oranges, loquats, almonds, honey.
Body: Fluid, slightly sirupy
Taste: Very sweet attack backed up with junmai petillant.
Complex and fruity. Apricots, plums, nuts, honey.
Disappears more quickly than expected on a surprisingly drier note with hints of nuts and almonds.
Especially enjoyable at all temperatures.
For all its sweetness drinks more like a mellow sweet sake or a liquorish white wine with such an incredible complexity.
Overall: A mirin for cooking? That would be extremely extravagant unless you use it on its own to accentuate a dish.
A rare “dish ingredient” that should be ignored as such and drunk on its own at a temperature of your liking as an aperitif, a digestif or as a night cap.
Chilled, it reveals itself as a superb nectar. Would do marvelously well in cocktails, too.
You must sample it with blue cheese!
More than a discovery, a blessing!
RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES
BULA KANA in Fiji
Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,
Must-see tasting websites:
-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery
Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents
HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City