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23 Feb 2024 By

Why Aren’t You Drinking Awamori Yet? Here Are 7 Fun Facts About This Trending Japanese Spirit to Convince You.

How about embarking on a drink older than sake (which is eternal and found everywhere) and being the first one in your drinking group to name-drop awamori from Okinawa? Here are some fun facts to get you going.


• For such a distinctly Japanese product, most awamori (above 95%) in Okinawa is made from…  drumroll… long grain Thai rice. This is in homage to the long history of trade between the countries. Also, Thai rice is cheaper and abundant.

• Awamori is the oldest distilled alcoholic drink in Japan. It is meticulously crafted by skilled Okinawan artisans using a time-honoured distillation process that has remained unchanged for over 600 years to yield a wide range of nuanced flavours. It has long been a part of Okinawa’s food culture since forever.

• Awamori is the only Japanese alcohol that continues to mature post-bottling, a rare quality in distilled beverages. Each bottle appreciates in value as it ages.

mikayo bridge Okinawa

• The technology of distillation entered Okinawa from Thailand. Unlike other Japanese liquor, Awamori is made with fragrant long-grain Thai Indica rice inoculated with a black koji mould.

• Awamori has a protected status, much like Champagne and Cognac. Only Awamori produced in Okinawa prefecture earn the status of Ryukyu Awamori, and it must undergo the elaborate process of ageing and bottling in Okinawa before being exported globally.

Zanpa awamori OkinawaZanpa (12 years and 24 years) Awamori are recognised as Ryukyu Awamori. Zanpa is the name of the cape.

Zanpa (aged 12 years, 43% ABV): Aromas of custard and caramel, with nuances of new grass, seagrass, and roasted cashew nut. The mellow and rich flavour co-exists with a delicate sweetness and a bittersweet aftertaste that lingers.

Zanpa (aged 24 years, 41% ABV):  This liquor emanates an initial scent of savoury caramel and roasted grains, evolving into sweeter aromas of custard and vanilla. The pleasantly sweet bouquet complements the mellow yet rich flavour, leaving a lingering, bittersweet aftertaste reminiscent of the indulgent notes of crème brûlée.


Uminokuni Awamori Okinawa

Uminokuni Awamori is produced by Okinawa Distillery Cooperative Association, a collective established in 1976.

• It represents 45 Awamori distilleries and was founded with the aim of protecting and promoting aged Awamori. (Whole troves of aged awamori were destroyed during the war.)

• Most Fun Fact: Back in the day, distilled awamori was considered “de rigueur” if it had the three distinct aromas of goat’s gonads, white plume and ripe physalis (gooseberry).

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RPM D Bespoke Awamori

Consumers can enjoy both brands at established bars and restaurants across Singapore, including Waku Ghin and RPM by D.Bespoke (above).

Uminokuni (aged 10 years) and Zanpa (aged 12 years) retail for $165.00 per bottle, while Uminokuni (aged 24 years) and Zanpa (aged 24 years) retail for $380.00 per bottle.


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