Mirin is an essential ingredient in Japanese cuisine. It is a sweet rice wine, similar to sake, but with a lower alcohol and higher sugar content. It has a light golden colour and slightly thick consistency. Mirin gives dishes a sweet flavour and glazed appearance. It is an essential ingredient in teriyaki sauce and Japanese hotpot dishes.
In the 18th century, mirin was consumed as a sweet sake or liquor by women among the upper classes, however today it is almost exclusively used as a cooking ingredient. Mirin-fu is one of three varieties of mirin and literally means 'mirin-like seasoning'. It typically contains less than 1% alcohol, but retains the same flavour.