Sweet rice drink. 甘酒
Not a type of sake, as is often wrongly thought, but rather a hot and sweet rice drink that contains no or very little alcohol. It is the perfect refreshment for a cold day.
The saccharification agent koji (a fungus) is set to work on steamed rice. In less than 48 hours, it turns part of the starch in the rice grains into natural sugars. To this, water is added.
An even easier way to make amazake is to use the lees from the sake brewing process (sakekasu). These however contain some small traces of alcohol. Usually sugar is also added.
Amazake is often drunk with a pinch of finely grated ginger. It is usually enjoyed piping hot. Amazake is quite nutritious.
Amazake is sold in winter at stalls, during temple festivals (often at New Year) and "ready to drink" in supermarkets.