Part IV: Umeshu

March 8, 2006

ume at bottom

The plums at the bottom

On my last night at home, I invited all my friends over for a Japanese meal: Sukiyaki. Eating from the same pot can really bring people together. I only wish we could have made it on the table as is conventionally done, but my parents don’t have a strong enough hot plate and we can’t uninstall a burner from the stove, so I made it… alone. Thanks to my mother’s creativity, we did, however, bring the pots to the table and were table to keep them warm on fondue burners. The result was hot sukiyaki all the way until we poured the last drops of liquid out of the pots.

One of my close friends, who attended the dinner, has recently entered the field of bartending. We visited her bar the night before, and after finding out she had never had any, I promised her we would have umeshu at my dinner. What is umeshu? A somewhat sweet, but full-bodied plum wine. I like it best mixed with soda water and a few ice cubes in a highball glass. The best ratio heavily favors the umeshu over the soda water.

So, while I sadly still know little about sake, I can point you to a very good umeshu that can be found at your local grocery store in the US, namely Choya Umeshu. It comes in a straight-sided bottle and has the alcohol-soaked green plums in the bottom, which are the biggest treat. Eating the plums is the greatest reward for having finished the bottle.

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4 Responses to “Part IV: Umeshu”

  1. M Says:

    That was indeed some great food!

    And I liked the Umeshu so much that I bought a bottle to share with my parents and also one for Ben and I. He’s taken to calling it ‘Plum Sauce’ and collecting the bottles once we’ve emptied them.

    Thanks for pointing us to that. ;)

  2. awi Says:

    Excellent blog. I love Umeshu but last time I had Umeshu it just tasted like sweet plum juice to me and before I knew it I was screaming “aaah! my liver!”. Great idea to mix it with soda water.

  3. Vivian Raiborde Says:

    Was introduced to Umeshu recently on a trip to Japan and fell in love with it. Came across your blog while doing a search on Umeshu…

    Rather than mixing it with soda, I prefer it in a small glass or even a whisky glass with tons of ice in it. The melting ice lends to an ever evolving flavour. Choya with honey in it is just amazing. Quite a few people I know who stay far from alcohol now swear by it!

  4. Nicolas Says:

    Hi,
    I love Umeshu a lot and started to really get into it. I found out that besides the industrial giant Choya, there are more than 300 private Umeshu labels in Japan.

    They produce a large variety of Umeshu – based on Sake, Shochu, Brandy or white liqueur, or with additional flavors such as Shiso, Yuzu or ginger.

    I started to collect information on these private labels on a portal in order to share the fun with other friends of Umeshu.

    Please have fun.


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