What Is Umeshu ?
“Umeshu” is local alcohol drink in Wakayama prefecture. Ume is a plum and it is very good for our health. Ume includes citric acid so that it is effective in getting rid of your fatigue. Or umeshu can be a good aperitif because your appetites is expected to increase with the citric acid. More than 60% of ume is harvested in Wakayama prefecture.
People there have been making umeshu by themselves at home. The ingredients are Aoume (literally “blue ume”, meaning unripened ume), rock candy and white liquor.
Aoume in Wakayama is especially bigger than others and have soft, thin skin. It is also called Kisyu ume (紀州梅). The best season to make or drink umeshu is around June. Let’s visit Wakayama prefecture and try this fresh and healthy drink!
Types Of Umeshu
The most common umeshu is white liquor-based. But shochu or sake-based umeshu is also popular. In the region where ume is produced, there are a lot of local sake or shochu breweries which produce umeshu. There are also other variations such as whisky, rum, brandy, vodka and awamori (泡盛- alcoholic beverage of Okinawa) based umeshu.
In Japan, white liquor refers to a clean alcohol which is used to make umeshu or other fruit liquor at home, and usually sold in a supermarket. With its clear taste, fruity ume aroma is well brought out. Shochu-based umeshu gives a deeper flavor, and the tastes differ depending on the types of shochu such as sweet potato-shochu (芋焼酎) or barley shochu (麦焼酎). Sake-based umeshu has a clean and elegant sake flavor. I would recommend to choose an umeshu based on your favorite alcohol.
How To Drink Umeshu
With its fruity and sweet taste, it is often served as an aperitif or a dessert wine at a restaurant, but at a casual place like izakaya (居酒屋), it is in the menu along with beer, sake and wine, and we drink umeshu over meal. The most common way to drink umeshu is on the rock to enjoy its aroma and flavor. And it is often mixed with water, hot water, soda. The alcohol content of common umeshu is from 10% to 15%.
Find your favorite umeshu and enjoy!