Among Okinawan sake, awamori is particularly popular. It is a traditional drink with a 600 year history that is said to have been the first distilled liquor produced in Japan! One special feature of awamori is the Thai rice used for its distillation, which has a uniquely sweet scent that is different from Japanese rice. One of the main points of awamori that make it so popular is that there are great differences in taste and flavor depending on the brand.
Awamori is a Drink with Unique Origins!
In the year 1400, Okinawa was at the time prospering as a country built around the trade of the ruling Ryukyu Kingdom. The Ryukyu Kingdom accumulated great wealth through its trade ships, which went to countries across East Asia such as China, Korea, Vietnam and Thailand, bartering for and collecting rare goods.
One such good which came from Thailand was lao khao, a distilled liquor made by fermenting and distilling coconut sap. It is said that the production of distilled liquor in Okinawa, and thus the creation of awamori, came with the acquiring of this liquor’s distillation technology. On the other hand, sake is said to have existed in Japan since around 300 BC. However, the manufacturing method and use of Japanese rice mean that Japanese sake is quite different.
The Brewing Method is Key to Good Sake!
Awamori is created using Thai rice and black malt, and mixing this fermentation broth of rice malt with yeast and water through whole rice malt fermentation. Awamori that has been stored for more than 3 years is called kusu (old sake). The preparation method is very similar to Japanese shochu, but there are three aspects that are different:
|Base Material||Thai rice||Japanese rice|
|Malt Type||Black malt||White malt|
|Preparation Method||whole rice malt fermentation||Secondary preparation|
This difference is said to be the result of the selection of delicious recipes and ingredients that are suitable for the local area, and do not rot easily even in the warm climate of Okinawa. This has made awamori the most delicious liquor in Okinawa.
Many Ways to Drink Awamori
Awamori is a drink that gives the impression of a strong liquor that you would drink on the rocks or straight. However, in Okinawa, awamori is typically drunk while cut with water. This reduces the alcohol content to about 14~15%, a percentage that is not too different from the average Japanese sake or wine. People in Okinawa not only drink awamori cut with water, but also carbonated water, sanpin tea, coffee and milk. Here are just a few select ways that Okinawan locals prefer to drink awamori.
Awamori With Water
The most popular way to drink awamori! By adding the right amount of water, the awamori becomes easier to drink. Here are some different measurements as a guide:
- 25% ABV awamori (Equal parts awamori and water)
- 30% ABV awamori (4:6 ratio of awamori and water)
- 40% ABV awamori (3:7 ratio of awamori and water)
Even when awamori is diluted with water, its fragrance and subtle sweetness are still highly noticeable.
Awamori With Shiikuwasha
It is said that if you add the shiikuwasha citrus fruit, a Okinawan specialty produce, to awamori cut with water, it adds a refreshing citrus scent that makes it much easier to drink. We especially recommend that you cut the awamori with carbonated water instead of regular water.
This is the recipe for a classic awamori cocktail. This drink’s cool, refreshing taste is something that anyone will enjoy.
Awamori (45 ml)
Lime (1/6th cut)
1.) Add ice to glass, and squeeze in lime juice
2.) Pour in awamori, and add chilled tonic water
3.) Stir lightly and serve
3 Recommended Awamori Brands for Your First-Time Purchase
Going to Okinawa is definitely the most highly recommended way to best enjoy the Okinawan spirit of awamori. However, recent events have made this dream harder to realize. However, for those who still wish to give authentic Okinawa-made awamori a try, you need not worry! Here are three recommended awamori brands purchasable on Buyee which you can have delivered internationally.
Kumesen Bingata Awamori (25% ABV)
Awamori with a strong, rich flavor and a fruity scent. The taste is rich with the black rice malt. This liquor is considered to be a classic, so if you want to truly enjoy your first awamori, this the perfect choice. We recommend drinking it straight or on the rocks.
Uehara Gunjo Awamori (20% ABV)
As far as awamori goes, this brand is a little weaker with 20% ABV. This makes it easier to drink, even for those with less alcohol tolerance. This awamori is great for drinking when trying to relax.
Sakimoto Warm Island Song Awamori (30% ABV)
This awamori has a fairly average ABV at 30%. The light blue bottle is a memorable design, and the three-stringed Okinawan sanshin instrument featured on the label is also eye-catching. Since this bottle’s 720 ml. size makes it easy to leave on the table, it is an ideal awamori to drink at meal times while drinking of Okinawa.
Looking for the Perfect Awamori
If you wish to continue your search for the perfect, authentic awamori from Okinawa, we recommend clicking the link below to find real products that can be delivered to your home overseas!
Important Notice For Alcoholic Products
Because awamori is an alcoholic product, please be aware of the following details:
The shipping method will be limited to DHL only for alcoholic beverages above 24% ABV. In addition, there may be restrictions on alcoholic beverage imports depending on the country. Please click here to confirm your country’s restrictions and regulations. Alcoholic beverages cannot be sold to persons under the age of 20.