Amazake is one kind of Japanese traditional sweet drink, which literally means sweet sake, but it is a drink with low alcohol or non-alcohol, and children can drink too. In summer, it is served cold, and in winter, it is served warm. The history of amazake dates back to Kofun period (250-538), according to Nihon Shoki, the second oldest book in Japanese history.
There are several recipes to make it. One way is to use sakekasu, sake lees, and sugar, which is an easy way to make by simply mixing. In order to enhance the sweetness, lots of sugar is added, so it is not recommended for people who prefer to keep a healthy diet. Amazake is made from sake lees also contains some alcohol.
Another way to make amazake is to use koji, malted rice. Unlike amazake made using sake lees, the fermentation process naturally gives sweetness, and there is no need to add sugar. It also does not contain alcohol, and is more natural and healthy compared to amazake made from sake lees and sugar.
In Japanese haiku poetry, amazake is a seasonal word for summer, because back in the Edo period (1603-1867), there used to be peddlers selling amazake on streets in summer. Amazake was also popular among the people in Edo, Current tokyo, as an energy drink to beat the summer heat, because it contains vitamin B group, amino acids, and glucose.
In winter, especially on new years, temples and shrines treat worshippers with warm amazake, or sell amazake to them to take home. In some areas of Japan, farmers make it to appreciate the harvest of rice, and offer at festivals. At markets, amazake is usually sold as canned, or bottled.