Awanami: Okinawa’s Rarest Awamori Sake Brand
The Japanese liquor “Sake (酒)” has been becoming popular in recent years in many countries around the world, whereas the total consumption of rice wine in Japan is on the decline. By the way, speaking of sake, have you ever heard that there is a rice wine unique to Okinawa Prefecture?
The Okinawa’s alcoholic beverage made from rice is called “Awamori (泡盛)”. It is a traditional Okinawan sake rice wine with more than 300 years of history and has a high alcohol content compared to ordinary sake.
Awanami (泡波): Awamori from Haterumajima Island
As Awamori has a long history, today it comes in many brand names. Just like regular sake or Nihonshu, the taste of Awamori varies depending on the brewery, but unlike Nihonshu, the Okinawan sake is available in a wide range of alcohol content from about 20% to over 40%.
Among such Awamori rice wines, there is a brand dubbed “Phantom Awamori” in Haterumajima Island, Japan’s southernmost island with residents. The Awamori brand, “Awanami (泡波)” has little supply as the tiny island Haterumajima only has a very small population.
Hateruma Brewery producing Awanami Awamori
Additionally, Haterumajima is visited by many tourists from the main island of Japan and many know the value and rareness of Awanami, so it is quite difficult to get the Awamori if you stay there for a short period only.
In fact, the 600ml bottle of Awanami only costs about 1,000 yen (about 9 USD) in Haterumajima Island, but because of the rareness, it is sold at prices as high as 10,000 yen (about 90 USD) in the mainland of Japan.
As for the taste, although the alcohol content of Awanami is 30%, the Awamori is really easy to drink with a slight sweetness and refreshing aftertaste.
How to Drink Awamori
The drinking manner of Awamori is basically the same as that of whiskey. Hence, you can enjoy the Okinawan spirits in various ways such as “straight”, “and (hot) water”, “on the rocks”, and “and Soda”. It is also good to make cocktails with the Okinawan sake.
(Reference Page: Wikipedia 泡盛 )