Mirin (sweet rice wine for cooking), made from short-grain rice, glutinous rice and distilled alcohol, ranks with soy sauce, dashi and miso as one of the most important seasonings used in Japanese cooking. The combination of alcohol and sugars gives mirin a distinctive flavour and sweetness. This also provides it with two characteristics that are especially prized: the ability to mask strong fish and meat odours and the sheen it imparts to food – particularly noticeable in teriyaki. Mirin is commonly used in grilled and simmered dishes, dipping sauces and broths. Mirin should be stored in a cool place.