Rice wine

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A bottle of cheongju, a Korean rice wine.

Rice wine is an alcoholic beverage fermented and distilled from rice, traditionally consumed in East Asia, Southeast Asia and South Asia. Rice wine is made from the fermentation of rice starch that has been converted to sugars. Microbes are the source of the enzymes that convert the starches to sugar.[1]

Rice wine typically has an alcohol content of 18–25% ABV. Rice wines are used in Asian gastronomy at formal dinners and banquets and in cooking. They are also used in a religious and ceremonial context.


A bottle of Tapuy, a Philippine rice wine.
Bottles of Sombai (Cambodian infused rice wine / liqueur).

Some types of rice wine are:

  • Apong – An Indian rice wine indigenous to the Mising tribe, from the Northeastern states of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
  • AraBhutanese rice, millet, or maize wine
  • Basi - Sugarcane wine from the Ilocos region of the Philippines
  • Brem – Balinese rice wine
  • Cheongju – A clear, refined rice wine from Korea
    • Beopju – A variety of cheongju
  • Cholai – A reddish rice wine from West Bengal, India
  • Choujiu – A milky glutinous rice wine popular in Xi'an, China
  • Chuak – Rice wine from Tripura, North-East State of India
  • Dansul – A milky, sweet rice wine from Korea
  • Gwaha-ju – A fortified rice wine from Korea
  • Hariya – A white/watery rice wine from India.
  • Huangjiu – A Chinese fermented rice wine, literally "yellow wine" or "yellow liquor", with colors varying from clear to brown or brownish red.
  • Lao-Lao – A clear rice wine from Laos
  • Lihing – Kadazan-Dusun rice wine from Sabah, Malaysian Borneo
  • Makgeolli – A milky rice wine from Korea
  • Mijiu – A clear, sweet Chinese rice wine/liqueur made from fermented glutinous rice.
  • Mirin – A Japanese rice wine used in cooking.
  • Pangasi (or gasi) - Various rice wines from the Visayas and Mindanao of the Philippines[2]
  • Rượu cần – Vietnamese rice wine drunk through long, thin bamboo tubes
  • Sake – A rice wine from Japan. The term "sake", in Japanese, literally means "alcohol", and the Japanese rice wines Nihonshu and Shochu are often simply called "sake" in the west. The most widely known type of rice wine in North America because of its ubiquitous appearance in Japanese restaurants.
  • Sato – A rice wine originating in the Isan region of Thailand
  • Shaoxing – A rice wine from Shaoxing, Zhejiang province, China, probably the best known Chinese rice wine
  • Sombai – Cambodian infused rice wine with sugar cane, fruits and spices still inside the bottle
  • Sonti – Indian rice wine
  • Tapai – Rice wine derived from fermented rice in various Austronesian cultures
  • Tapuy – Clear rice wine from the Mountain Province in the Philippines
  • Tuak – Dayak rice wine (Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo); Sarawak (Malaysian Borneo)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Huang, H. T. "Science and civilization in China. Volume 6. Biology and biological technology. Part V: fermentations and food science." (2000).
  2. ^ Gico, Emma T.; Ybarzabal, Evelyn R. "Indigenous Rice Wine Making in Central Panay, Philippines". Central Philippine University. Retrieved 4 May 2019.

Further reading[edit]