Rice Wine

There always seems to be confusion about rice wine vs. rice vinegar, but the difference between these two is actually quite simple. While both are delicious and useful, it is important to know what makes them unique before using them in the kitchen!

Difference between Rice Wine vs. Rice Vinegar

By definition, rice wine is a type of wine that is made from fermented glutinous rice, unlike other wines, which are normally made from fermented fruit. Rice wine is popular in many Asian cuisines, both as a beverage and as an ingredient in cooking. Regardless of how you choose to use rice wine, it tends to impart a sweet flavor. The most popular types of rice wine include sake (Japan) and Shaoxing (China). Remember that rice wine is made only by allowing the rice to ferment into alcohol, resulting in a relatively low-alcohol content beverage or cooking ingredient.

Rice vinegar, on the other hand, is made through a very similar process – the fermentation of glutinous rice. However, while rice wine producers stop the process when alcohol has been produced, rice vinegar is produced when the alcohol is allowed to further ferment into acetic acid. This gives rice vinegar its highly acidic bite, which is why it is often used in different culinary applications. The most common form of vinegar is common white vinegar, which has a highly astringent taste and is rarely used in cooking. Rice vinegar is not consumed as a beverage, but it does have a rather mild, delicate flavor that borders on the edge between sweet and sour. Rice vinegar is commonly used in sushi rice, marinades, and salad dressings.


How to Make Rice Wine vs. Rice Vinegar?

Rice Wine

  • Step 1 – Rinse 2 cups of sweet rice (sticky rice) with water and then cook in 3 cups of water.
  • Step 2 – Spread the cooked rice to cool on a baking sheet.
  • Step 3 – Crumble 1 yeast ball (called jiuqu) and sprinkle on the warm rice.
  • Step 4 – Add the rice and yeast to an airtight container and place in the oven on low (100-110 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Step 5 – After 2-3 days, the wine will begin to gather in the bottom of the bowl.
  • Step 6 – Allow fermentation to continue for another 2-3 days, then strain out the wine and store for use.

Rice Vinegar

  • Step 1 – Soak 4 cups of sticky rice in a bowl of water for 4 hours, then strain, keeping the water and rice separate.
  • Step 2 – Refrigerate the cooked rice overnight, then add 1-2 cups of rice wine to the mixture, which should start the fermentation process.
  • Step 3 – Add 3/4 cup of sugar for each cup of rice water in the mixture.
  • Step 4 – Cook the rice water and sugar mixture in a double boiler for 20 minutes
  • Step 5 – Place in a glass container and let it ferment for 1 week.
  • Step 6 – Once the air bubbles are all gone, move to another glass container and allow it to ferment for another 4 weeks.
  • Step 7 – Strain out the rice vinegar and store for use.