Introducing the Ginger and Apple Mirin Cordial – Another Drinkable Way to Enjoy This Traditional Japanese Cooking Staple

Maho Tanabe

December 10, 2022

Last October, American food professionals visited fermented food producers to deepen their knowledge of Japanese fermentation culture during the “Hakko Tourism in Japan” tour campaign. As part of the tour, organizers held a tasting session where guests gave candid advice from the perspective of the American market to food product manufacturers looking to enter the United States market.

The traditional Japanese seasoning and condiment mirin (or “hon-mirin”) is a type of rice wine similar to sake, but sweeter and lower in alcohol content. While typically used in cooking these days, its applications are endless. And with a little ingenuity, it’s even a great ingredient in cocktails and other beverages!

Previously, Hakko Hub introduced mirin’s origins as a beverage in its own right and as a helpful tool to beat the summer heat when mixed into cocktails.

Beverages made with mirin aren’t limited to the hotter months, though. Here is a mirin concoction perfect for fall and winter.

The ginger and apple mirin cordial

A glass of apple and ginger mirin cordial soda and a glass jar of apple and ginger mirin cordial

The definition of a cordial can vary, but nowadays refers to a sweet, sometimes syrupy beverage – with or without added alcohol. Historically, a cordial was a concentrated drink made by soaking herbs in alcohol or soaking raw seasonal herbs and fruits in syrup and was administered as a medicinal tonic.

Mirin, itself rather sweet, makes for an unexpectedly perfect cordial ingredient and can be used instead of sugars and syrups for a no-sugar-added beverage great for cold seasons and the holidays.

Cordial made using mirin (produced from rice and fermentation, just like sake) is low on the glycemic index and is said to help with fatigue. Sweet, boozy and good for you — What’s not to like?

Cordial made from Mirin includes glucose as the main sugar ingredient and also includes 17 kinds of amino acids. This sweet, nourishing drink may just help energize your body and mind, all while tasting delicious.

The below recipe also calls for boiling the mirin, removing its natural alcohol content and making it safe for drinkers of all ages.

Makes approximately 250ml ginger and apple mirin cordial


  • 1 apple
  • 50g (1.8oz) ginger
  • 50ml (1.7oz) honey
  • 200ml (6.8oz) mirin
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice to taste
  • 2-3 pieces, or more cardamom or clove to taste
  • 1 leaf, or more bay leaf to taste


1. Cut the apple into eight even pieces, then slice it into 5mm slices. Slice ginger into 2-3 mm slices.
2. Put all the ingredients into a small pot except for lemon juice, and simmer for 15-20 minutes over low to medium heat.
3. Strain through a colander and add lemon juice.
4. Store in a sterilized jar.
Feel free to experiment with this recipe! For example, try adding sparkling water for a refreshing summery spritzer, or add extra apple and cinnamon for a more kid-friendly flavor.

You can also store the strained ingredients in a jar along with the cordial. This concoction can then be made into a paste for a delicious pork rub!

Two plates of pork gignger (Shogayaki) with two glasses of apple and ginger mirin cordial and two chopsticks.
The sweetness of mirin and the apple come through as pleasantly gentle, and the spicy kick of ginger brings a sense of warmth to the body. If you’ve refrigerated your cordial to drink later, you can cut it with hot water for a steamy winter warm-up.

It can also be mixed with black tea for a beverage that’s a dead ringer for chai.

A glass of iced chai tea with a glass jar of apple and ginger mirin cordial
An iced “chai” variant of the mirin cordial
A glass of apple and ginger mirin cordial soda and a glass jar of apple and ginger mirin cordial
Mirin has a mild sweetness that’s different from sugar, adding interesting dimension to sweet cocktails and other concoctions, just like the recipe above. Enjoy!
Minamoto Shokudo | + posts

Maho Tanabe, the organizer of "Mirin Sweets and Fermented Foods" at Minamoto Shokudo, is an inner beauty planner and owner of Minamoto cafeteria. With expertise in fermented foods using koji and sake, she is a recognized authority in the fermented foods industry.