Mirin – the Japanese rice wine that’s so instrumental to teriyaki sauce among others. But once you have it, how long can you expect it to last before it needs replacing? And what is the best way to store it to preserve it? These are just some of the questions I’ll be answering here today. But first.
How long does Mirin last? An unopened bottle of Mirin can last for several months to several years – if stored appropriately – in a cool place away from direct sunlight. However, an open bottle will generally last a few weeks to several months, even if refrigerated, before the flavor and quality will start degrade.
The definitive timeframe is impossible to clearly state.
Because the truth is – it depends.
On various different factors.
The brand, recipe, how you store it if the bottle has been opened, storage conditions – and so on and so forth.
To the extent where some people will even claim their bottles of Mirin last indefinitely.
But even then, it is subject to personal preferences and opinions.
And usage of course.
Some people notice a change in flavor and it’s no longer appetizing. Others prefer it!
So, let us now take a closer look at some of the other more commonly asked questions about this sweet and tangy condiment.
Besides, these all impact how long it typically lasts for the average consumer so you’re going to want to keep on reading!
It is recommended that you refrigerate Mirin after opening. This will help to preserve the flavor and general quality for longer. That being said, so long as it is stored in a cool place away from sunlight, it should be safe to store it out of the fridge too.
So pantries, cupboards, drawers – they are all suitable places too.
So long as they are cool enough.
You don’t want to expose the bottle to any heat, or sunlight.
That being said, if there is a place in the fridge for it, it does make sense to put it in there.
You may get some additional shelf-life from it.
Just be sure to shake the bottle well before using.
Regardless of how you store it.
It can separate in time, you see.
What Color Should Mirin Be?
Mirin should be a light, golden amber color and relatively thick in consistency. This indicates the sauce has been preserved well.
Even then, you may notice that the sauce separates in time; so there may be some color variation throughout the sauce before you use it or if it has been sitting still for a while.
If you shake the bottle, you should notice that the amber color evenly distributes throughout.
One thing to note here is that you may notice some whitening in the sauce if you do decide to refrigerate it.
This usually occurs a month or two into refrigeration.
It’s absolutely fine and often goes with shaking.
All this is crystallized sugar from the sauce – it often collects at the bottom of the bottle.
Nothing to worry about.
And it shouldn’t affect the taste.
Does Mirin Ever Go Bad?
Mirin does degrade in quality over time. This is why it often has a best-by or best before date stamped on the bottle. Nevertheless, due to the ingredients, it’s not likely to make you unwell or sick.
How Do You Know If Mirin Is Bad?
The main ways to tell if Mirin has gone bad are through changes to the color, stronger or differing smells, or taste.
Of course, you’ll want to look closely at the bottle and the sauce long before you proceed to taste it.
That should always be the first check.
And chances are, it will be many months before any signs of degradation begin to appear.
If at all.
The truth is it’s one of those condiments that does not really show any signs of spoiling.
But remember, you are comparing the sauce back to the original.
How it first was when you purchased it.
For some of you reading, you may not be able to observe any changes.
For others, it may be more noticeable.
This is something you will need to test and assess over time.
If in doubt, replace the bottle.
But many people do state they have several-year-old bottles, they never refrigerated, and that they continue to use.
Food is great when steamed with Mirin.
Meat is simply better when Mirin has been brushed on.
And it works so well when added to other sauces, like Teriyaki too.
And beyond just its versatility, it generally lasts a long time.
We have the alcohol and the salt to thank for that.
These ingredients are wonderful natural preservers.
Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t store it properly and appropriately.
In a cool place out of sunlight.
A fridge or pantry is ideal here, but a cupboard can be ideal too.
Nevertheless, in time you likely will notice some degradation in quality.
How much degradation, and how long it takes does vary.
So be mindful, inspect closely.
And if in doubt, replace it.
Besides, it may give you an opportunity and the justification to try this authentic, 5* reviewed brand from Amazon.
At least it did for me!
Wondering how long other sauces typically last? Check out my other guides here:
Hello. I’m Jeremy – an experienced saucier who has worked in some of the top kitchens over the last few decades. With a love for sauces, food, and nutrition, I decided to create WeWantTheSauce. Here I share my knowledge and expertise; from ingredients and recipes to storage all the way through to recommendations for every sauce imaginable.