Just like sister-superdrink kombucha, amazake, Japan’s ancient energy drink, draws on the medicinal magic of mold. A sweet, non-alcoholic drink made from lightly fermented rice, amazake is the health drink you’ve never heard of, promising a stomach-full of super-charged, easy-to-digest nutrients with every gulp.
Designed to make friends with your gut flora whilst providing an all-natural energy boost, amazake was first developed in the Kofun period (around 250 to 538AD), originally as a food preservation technique. Made by boiling rice, water and koji mold, amazake, just like culinary staples miso, natto, soy sauce and sake, is fermented using the country’s most famous fungus. Low in calories and high in health benefits, the result is a faintly sweet, creamy drink which can be enjoyed hot or cold. Packed full of all the good stuff including folic acid, dietary fibre and helpful bacteria, amazake claims to positively impact almost every part of the body, from hair growth to weight loss, hangover recovery, sleep cycles and even anti-ageing.
Buoyed by the popularity of fermented foods, koji has been touted as one of the world’s fastest growing food trends for 2020 and beyond. So whilst you may not have come across amazake yet, it won’t be long before Japan’s OG energy drink graces the shelves of a supermarket near you.
Image: via Just One Cookbook