Mirin, a Japanese rice wine, may be substituted with a combination of dry sherry, sweet marsala wine, dry white wine or rice vinegar mixed with sugar. As a substitute for half a cup of mirin, 1-2 tablespoons of sugar should be added to half a cup of the listed liquids.
Mirin is comparable to the better known sake, but is lower in alcohol and higher in sugar. Its sweet flavor is used to contrast with salty sauces, such as with soy sauce to make teriyaki. Another traditional use is in soups such as miso.
Mirin is often sold alongside other Asian ingredients, and is widely available from Asian markets.