Umeshu is a type of traditional Japanese liqueur made from UME plums: the fruits are harvested while still green, then washed, dried and left to macerate for a few months in alcohol (or sake) and cane sugar, thus preserving all the aroma of the fresh umes.
Consider that Umeshu was initially consumed as a medicine to relieve sore throats: ume is rich in citric acid, malic acid, tartaric acid and succinic acid... so in Japan, in addition to being enjoyed as a liqueur, it is consumed for its health benefits.
Over time it has become a popular alcoholic drink due to its sweet aroma, tart plum flavor and relatively low alcohol content which makes it easy to drink.
There are different ways to drink and enjoy Umeshu:
For a purer drinking experience, chilled Umeshu can be pure, so that the flavors are not diluted by the ice.
On the rocks
A very common way to drink Umeshu is with ice. The ice can be larger or crushed, for an even more refreshing version.
There are several variations:
- the "mizuwari" style, which is mixed with ice water to obtain a softer drink.
- the “ochawari” style, or mixed with green tea;
- the "oyuwari" style, or with the addition of hot water; during the winter it is a delicious hot drink that warms the body when it is cold (ume contains a substance called "mumefural", which improves blood circulation);
- the “sodawari” style, with the addition of soda, perfect as a match for the sweet and fruity flavor of Umeshu.
Umeshu based cocktail
Umeshu is also a popular ingredient for cocktails, which are very versatile: it can be used as the main spirit to create less alcoholic drinks, or it can be added to other spirits, to which it pairs very well thanks also to its sugary component or , again, can be used as an alternative to vermouth.
It can also be used for an adult frozen dessert, served “mizorezake” style (similar to a frozen margarita) or poured over ice cream…you'll want to try it with a nice cream ice cream.
With so many ways to drink Umeshu, you'll find the one that best suits your style!!!