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Korean Rice Wine

Rice wine or refined rice wine is an essential pantry item in Korean cooking.

Below is my new cooking wine. I bought it for about AUD $3.00 for 500ml (Mirim 미림 by Lotte) at a Korean grocery store.

Korean Cooking wine

  • Highlights: Alchohol 14% and No MSG
  • Ingredients: Water, Corn syrup, Sugar, Rice, Aging alcohol 14%/volume

Previously when I was in Korea:-

I used to use ‘refined rice wine’ to get rid of the meat smell. However, it also contains natural succinic acid which apparently gives a refreshing taste as well.

Here is the picture of the refined rice wine that I used.

Refined rice wine

It is 1.8 L. (about 6500 won, US $ 6.80)
I only use it for cooking purposes, so it lasts a long time. Its Korean name is “Cheong-Ju (청주)“.

-Quick Korean lesson-

“Ju” (酒 in Chinese Chracter) means alcohol in Korean.

e.g. So-Ju, Maek-Ju (Beer), Poktan-Ju (boilermaker or mixed drinks in English)


Find more about Korean kitchen essentials.

Filed under: Ingredients
Tagged with: cooking wine, f.a.q

Written by: Sue

Last Updated:

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Welcome to my Korean kitchen! I’m so happy that you're here. I am Sue, the creator behind My Korean Kitchen (since 2006). I love good food and simplifying recipes. Here you will find my best and family approved recipes. Thanks for stopping by!


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23 thoughts on “Korean Rice Wine”

  1. Hi sue,
    I’m trying to find Mirim in NZ and I did find something that looks like the right thing at an online korean store in CJW Rice Cooking Wine 830ml, 청정원 미작(미정) 830ml, Is this Mirim too or something else?

    My local supermarket also has shin-mirin which according to wikipedia “contains less than 1% alcohol, yet retains the same flavor.” so I might get that if the one I mentioned above isnt the same thing.

    Which one would you go for, I’m cooking Bulgogi

    • Between those two, I would go for the second one. (Though, I couldn’t find much information about it.)

      CJW Rice Cooking Wine contains other ingredients that may affect flavor too much such ginger and Korean plum etc. So I will pass.

      Alternatively, you can use dry sherry, dry white wine, or verjuice (non-alcoholic grape juice) as a substitute. Hope you enjoy my bulgogi recipe!

  2. Hi sue, came across your recipes and it calls for rice wine, is that any rice wine vinegar we can get our hands on or any one in particular thanks, oh I cant wait to try your fried chicken

    • Hi Georgie, rice wine and rice wine vinegar are two different things. You may look for Korean mirim or Japanese mirin if that’s easier to find. Also some people use dry sherry as a substitute. – Though I haven’t tried this one yet.

  3. I’m so confused with recipes that call for rice wine or cooking wine in Korean cooking. So is this what they are referring to? Also can i use mirin instead of mirim? Can I use soju in place of this? Thanks

    • Hi Jean, yes, you can use Japanese mirin instead. Mirim is just a Korean product name. Depending on a recipe, you could use soju, but not all the times. I would use soju or any leftover wines when I marinate meat. Hope this helps!

  4. Hello, would you know what’s the difference between Chinese rice wine vs Korean rice wine? Can I substitute one for the other in cooking?

    • Frankly speaking, I do not know Chinese rice wine well, because I’ve never tried it. But I’ve tried Japanese rice wine – both sake and mirin in my Korean cooking (as a substitute of Korean rice wine) from time to time.

      And, yes, sake and mirin are different. The latter is sweeter.

      If Chinese rice wine is the only alternative I’ve got, I’d use it. 🙂

  5. Hi Sue,
    I bought a bottle of Lotte mirin at a Korean Market because many recipes would have mirin in it. I used some to make salad dressing but it gave this weird bitterness taste. Is that normal?

    • Hi Macy, Maybe? I don’t normally use mirin in a salad dressing, so I can’t tell. Was it my recipe? (That would be funny. Lol) But I suppose it’s possible since it has some alcohol property. Did the recipe call for mirin / rice wine?

  6. Hi Sue,

    Long time follower- I can’t find Cheongju in my country, and only non-alcoholic Mirin (all hard alcohol can only be obtained through government retailers), and I’ve heard that Vermouth or Sweet sherry is the best substitute for it. I was wondering what your input is?

    • Hi Miriam, I’ve never heard of vermouth or sweet sherry before, so I did a quick search.

      They are indeed suggested as a substitute for mirin. All I can say is try them and see. My bottom line is as long as I like the end result of a dish, it’s good to go. 🙂

      FYI, when I don’t have mirin in my pantry, I sometimes use leftover wine at home (with no added sugar). And, I’m happy with the result it gives.

  7. Hi Sue, i’m just wondering if you could give me some advice, what type of vegetable oil i should buy?
    because there’re many types of oil sold out there.

  8. Ah, now I have found your answer to my question on another post of yours: what is Korean cooking wine called? “Cheong-ju.”
    The bottle in the picture has Hangeul on it which looks like “HanKheunSul”.

  9. The proper romanization is Cheong-ju. The Korean and Chinese spellings are respectively 청주 and 淸酒. ‘cheong’ does mean ‘clear.’

    Not to be confused with the alcohol, there is also a reasonably sized city called Cheong-ju, 청주, 淸州.

  10. I find it weird that you don’t define the first character of the two-character word Chungju in your “-Quick Korean Lesson-”

    Although I don’t know Korean, I would venture to say that the “Chung” in “Chungju” means clear (æ·¸ in Chinese). Please correct me if I’m wrong.

  11. b. cheng,
    As far as I know, Japanese mirin isn’t 100% alcohol, but Chung ju is.
    Also mirin has a slightly sweet taste (I heard that it has some kind of chemical additives but Chung ju doesn’t).
    I hope I answered your question.

  12. First, I must say, I love this site! I’ve never used the Korean “Chongju” when I cook, though I’ve seen it come up on here and in Korean cookbooks. I can tell that its far different from the typical Chinese cooking wine, but how does it differ (if at all) from something like Japanese Mirin? Thanks!


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