Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Umeshu


Hiroyuki
 Share

Recommended Posts

The other day, I noticed there were no threads on umeshu in this forum, so I thought it would be a good idea to start a thread on it when I bought a bottle of it.

Umeshu is often erroneously referred to as plum wine, but it is actually plum liqueur. It is usually considered women's beverage, especially middle-aged women's, because of its sweetness. Conventionally, home-made umeshu is made with what is called "white liquor" (a kind of ko-rui (cheaper type) shochu), but there are an increasing number of Japanese who make it with otsu-rui shochu and sake (rice wine), and there are an increasing number of breweries that make shochu- and sake-based umeshu.

This is an example of sake-based umeshu, which I bought today.

gallery_16375_5_56772.jpg

It was a gift for my wife, but I tasted it too. It was mild, smooth, and not too sweet. My wife liked it, too.

Have you ever tried this Japanese liqueur?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is my all-time favorite drink to accompany (or chase) sushi:  plum wine, straight up, with a squeeze of lime.

WONDERFUL!

Thanks for your reply.

For those of you who haven't tried it, I highly recommend it because it's tasty and healthy.

Once you get the taste of it, you will become like Pavlov's dog. You will find yourself salivating when you think of it or just hear the word, like I am now. :biggrin:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hiroyuki, how would you compare the taste of that umeshu compared with a familiar umeshu, like Choya? Not just sweetness but other flavor notes. What was the alcohol content?

Also, you could technically say that umeshu is an apricot liquer. Although "ume" is most often referred to as "plum," it is more closely related to the apricot (from what I understand).

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hiroyuki, how would you compare the taste of that umeshu compared with a familiar umeshu, like Choya? Not just sweetness but other flavor notes. What  was the alcohol content?

Also, you could technically say that umeshu is an apricot liquer. Although "ume" is most often referred to as "plum," it is more closely related to the apricot (from what I understand).

I have had only a standard type of Choya before, the left top one on this page.

It is good enough, but I find it way too sweet for my taste. I asked my wife what she thought of that sake-based umeshu, as compared with Choya, and she replied, "It's more drinkable." The sake-based umeshu has an alcohol content of 11 to 12% (requires refrigeration after it's opened), whereas that standard Choya has 14%.

My mother used to make umeshu, using "white liquor". If I remember correctly, it had such an acute sourness that I didn't want to drink it.

I guess drinking apricot liqueur doesn't make you Pavlov's dog, right? Just thinking of umeshu (and umeboshi! :biggrin: ) can make your mouth water.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not a fan of Choya either, it's too strong and fermented-tasting for my taste, although it tames a bit when mixed with fizzy water or white wine.

I've been looking for something lighter and sweeter. I've tried Fu-Ki, and it's OK, still a bit ersatz tasting. I'll have to try to find a bottle of the one Hiroyuki recommends. Does it have a brand name ?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not a fan of Choya either, it's too strong and fermented-tasting for my taste, although it tames a bit when mixed with fizzy water or white wine.

I've been looking for something lighter and sweeter. I've tried Fu-Ki, and it's OK, still a bit ersatz tasting.  I'll have to try to find a bottle of the one Hiroyuki recommends. Does it have a brand name ?

That umeshu is simply called "Kakurei no umeshu". Kakurei is the name of a brand of the local brewery here in my area. You can take a virtual tour of the brewery from here. :wink:

I don't think you can find one where you live, though. It's produced in limited quantities, and last year, it was sold out three months after released. Besides, it's not shipped overseas.

Besides the one I posted, there are quite a few shochu-, brandy-, and sake-based umeshu in Japan. I think I'll try one of them after my wife and I have finished that bottle.

Have you ever found Mercian in your area? A member says he prefers Mercian to Choya here.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

where does takara (the brand) fall on the list as far as quality and flavor? it seems to be rather inexpensive, but also rather sweet and artificial tasting.

i have used it successfully in a cake which tastes delicious. i don't normally drink alcohol but use it frequently in cooking. i'm sure there are many ways to use different ume-shu in desserts due to its sweetness.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

where does takara (the brand) fall on the list as far as quality and flavor?  it seems to be rather inexpensive, but also rather sweet and artificial tasting.

i have used it successfully in a cake which tastes delicious.  i don't normally drink alcohol but use it frequently in cooking.  i'm sure there are many ways to use different ume-shu in desserts due to its sweetness.

Quite frankly, I don't know. I even didn't know that Takara produces umeshu. All I can say is that Choya is best known for its umeshu, Mercian for its wine, and Takara for its shochu and chu-hai.

By the way, it's surprising to know that you can find Takara umeshu in California!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We can get most Asian products here. Not to stray too far off topic but we have Mitsuwa supermarkets on both coasts and other Asian markets that carry tons of Japanese products. There are a lot of Japanese ni-sei and san-sei (old immigration, new immigration, expats, etc.) all over California, so the demand is here.

The Takara product is a plum "wine" and can be seen here.

Don't know if it is real umeshu or if it is made for an American market.

Interesting topic at any rate!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've tried a few umeshu brands but I don't really remember which I liked best. I've tried brandy umeshu and sake umeshu too, they were both good. But there is only one umeshu for me ... my umeshu! It's about 6 months old and tastes amazing, I used extra ume because I love to eat the actual ume and use them in recipes. I usually don't drink it though, I save it for guests. I have a question for people who have made umeshu before: my ume became soft, but the ume at the bottom of the choya bottle are usually firm, why would this have happened?

gallery_23727_2765_14110.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a question for people who have made umeshu before: my ume became soft, but the ume at the bottom of the choya bottle are usually firm, why would this have happened?

gallery_23727_2765_14110.jpg

John, how long have you kept your ume in the bottle? What is the alcohol content of your spirit? How much sugar did you put in the bottle?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If I recall correctly I used 2.2kg ume, 1kg sugar, and one carton of white liquor which I believe is 35% alcohol. The ume have been in the liquor for about 6 months. Here is a picture of my ingredients. I ended up using two packages of ume.

gallery_23727_2765_19502.jpg

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have checked more than ten related webpages, and I think that there are two factors:

1. Ripeness of the ume

2. Amount of sugar

1. According to this webpage, ripe ones should be used to keep them round rather than making them wrinkled up. It even suggests freezing ripe ones.

2. According to this webpage, this guy(?) uses only 400 to 500 g of rock sugar with 1 kg of ume and 1.8 liters of shochu. It says that using 1 kg of rock sugar will make the ume wrinkled up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If I recall correctly I used 2.2kg ume, 1kg sugar, and one carton of white liquor which I believe is 35% alcohol. The ume have been in the liquor for about 6 months. Here is a picture of my ingredients. I ended up using two packages of ume.

White liquor comes in an aseptic container!?

How funny!

Only juices and milk come in that sort of container in the US.

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If I recall correctly I used 2.2kg ume, 1kg sugar, and one carton of white liquor which I believe is 35% alcohol. The ume have been in the liquor for about 6 months. Here is a picture of my ingredients. I ended up using two packages of ume.

White liquor comes in an aseptic container!?

How funny!

Only juices and milk come in that sort of container in the US.

That's relatively a new trend. Some cheap sake also come in paper cartons. They are light and easy to carry, and they fit in small refrigerators in Japan. A 1.8-liter glass bottle like the one I showed upthread won't fit in my fridge.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the research Hiroyuki, I checked the pages and they had some good info. I'll try again next year. At first I only added 500g of sugar but is seemed very sour so I added the rest and now it is at quite nice level. I am still happy even if they are not super firm, they are really tasty.

how do you enjoy umeshu? I usually drink it on the rocks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the research Hiroyuki, I checked the pages and they had some good info. I'll try again next year. At first I only added 500g of sugar but is seemed very sour so I added the rest and now it is at quite nice level. I am still happy even if they are not super firm, they are really tasty.

how do you enjoy umeshu? I usually drink it on the rocks.

Me too. That sake-based umeshu is not as sweet as Choya, but I still need to dilute it with ice. So does my wife.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That umeshu was gone days ago, and I bought another one today. This one is from Choya.

gallery_16375_5_43159.jpg

This one, called Excellent, is one of the top brands of the company. It is brandy-based, and has an alcohol content of 14%. I bought this 750-ml bottle for 1,365 yen.

I'll report on it later.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...