What is Umeshu?
Umeshu (梅酒) is a Japanese liqueur made from steeping ume fruits (while still unripe and green) in alcohol (焼酎 shōchū) and sugar. It has a sweet, sour taste, and an alcohol content of 10–15%. The taste and aroma of umeshu can appeal to even those people who normally dislike alcohol. Famous brands of umeshu include Choya and Takara Shuzo. Varieties are available with whole ume fruits contained in the bottle, and some make their own umeshu at home. This is especially popular with Japanese women and young people.
How to cook?
- 500 g Green Japanese Plums (unripe ume) (17.64 oz)
- 900 ml Shochu, Soju, or any other clear, tasteless liquor that is 35% alcohol (3.8 cups)
- 250g Rock Sugar (8.82 oz)
1. Pick out the stems. Using a bamboo skewer or similarly pointed object like a toothpick, de-stem the plums. This will make your umeshu taste better and smoother.
2. Layer the fruit and sugar in the jar. Put in enough fruit to cover the bottom, then a layer of sugar on top of that. If you want a less sweet drink, put less sugar in. Layer until the jar is half to 2/3 full.
3. Pour the alcohol into the jar. Stop when there’s about an inch over the top of the top layer. Make sure to leave room at the top to shake.
4. Put the lid on the jar and store. Make sure the lid is tight and secure. Store in a dark and cool location.
5. Wait, shaking occasionally. Shaking will mix the sugar in with the alcohol. The fruit takes about 3 months to start floating to the surface. The fruit will turn from green to brownish yellow and the sugar should fully dissolve.
6. After 5 months, enjoy. While umeshu can be ready in as little as 3 months, 5 months is recommended. Umeshu mellows the longer it sits, so the longer your umeshu sits the more mellow and better it will taste.
To serve, add ice and serve either straight or mixed with sparkling water to cut the sweetness.
Add a whole ume fruit for a fancy garnish.
Where you taste Umeshu?
You can taste Izakay, Bar, restaurants etc. They serves many different varieties of umeshu and also make cocktails. Umeshu on the Rocks (pronounced umeshu rokku), Umeshu Sour (pronounced umeshu sawa), Umeshu Tonic (with 2/3 tonic water), Umeshu Soda (with 2/3 carbonated water) and the Flaming Plum cocktail are popular. It is sometimes mixed with green tea (o-cha-wari) or warm water (o-yu-wari). “Umeshu” can be served at different temperatures; chilled or with ice, room temperature, or even hot in the winter.