Know Umeshu

How to select the Umeshu that suit you

Umeshu is a liquor made by soaking fruits, herbs, and other secondary ingredients, sweetening them with sugar or syrup. There are many different types of Umeshu, depending on which angle you look at it from. Here is how to choose the right Umeshu that suits you.

The ways to select Umeshu to suit your taste

By type of base spirit

By type of container

By type of plums used

By length of maturation

By type of base spirit

    Depending on which liquor to soak the plums in when making Umeshu, the characteristics of the resulting flavor will be completely different. Choose your favorite combination, such as plums and whiskey or plums and white liquor.

Whiskey or Brandy

    If you want an aromatic, mature taste, the most suitable Umeshu would be one that is made with whiskey or brandy as its base. Whiskey is made from barley, while brandy is made from white grapes and other fruits. Whichever whiskey or brandy is used as the base, the refreshing plum aroma and the deep mellow mouthfeel would go very well together, and are recommended for those who want to enjoy an elegant Umeshu.

White liquor

    White liquor is a type of Shochu that is tasteless and odorless. Umeshu made with white liquor as a base has no extra aroma or peculiarity, and retains the original flavor of plums. In addition, the alcohol component in white liquor prevents the fruits from spoiling, making it suitable for long-term storage. This is the best choice for people who want to enjoy the original flavor of plums,  or cannot drink all of it within a short period of time.

By type of container

    You will find that Umeshu is sold in many different types of containers when purchasing in stores. Since the price and preservation methods vary depending on the type of container, you need to be particular about the container when selecting your Umeshu.

Umeshu in glass bottle

    To prolong the life of Umeshu, it must be kept as airtight as possible. It can be stored for a long time if it is put into a glass bottle. After opening, it will last for one to two years if you keep it refrigerated. This is recommended for people who cannot drink all of it within a short period of time, or want to compare different brands at the same time.

Umeshu in paper carton

    Unlike the glass bottle, paper carton type is easier to handle because it will not be broken. And because of the lower cost of cartons, Umeshu sold in cartons is generally less expensive. If you love Umeshu so much that you want a less costly way to taste it daily, then we recommend buying it in paper carton. Even Umeshu in cartons can be stored for six to ten months after opening if you pay attention to how it is stored.

Umeshu in cans

    A can of Umeshu is around 250 to 350 ml, it is not as large as the two mentioned above. If you want to drink Umeshu on a whim, it is perfectly simple to buy it at a convenience store. And If it can be stored for longer than either of the above if you left it unopened. It also doesn’t have a high alcohol content, around 4 to 5 degrees. If you don’t normally drink Umeshu often, but only occasionally want to taste it, or if you get drunk easily, then buying Umeshu in cans is very appropriate.

By type of plums used

    Umeshu is an alcoholic beverage made by soaking plums in sake. The flavor varies greatly depending on the type of plums being soaked.

Green plums that have not yet ripened

    The most standard and simple Umeshu is made with green plums. Because the fruit is taken while it is still on the tree, it can be harvested earlier than fully ripe plums. Green plums are ideal for plum juice and Umeshu because the hard fruit does not fall apart. They are rich in acidity and produce a refreshing tasting Umeshu.

Fully ripened plums

    Fully ripened plums are plums that have been harvested after they have ripened. There are two patterns of fully ripened plums: one is the green ume that has been left for a number of days without being harvested and has turned yellow or red in color, the other is the green plums that has been harvested and left at room temperature for a few days for further ripening. Umeshu made from fully ripened plums have mild acidity, mellow and richer mouthfeel.

By length of maturation

    The difference in the length of time Umeshu can be seen in the difference in the mellowness and richness. Choose the Umeshu with the aging period that is your favorite.

Less than one year

    Umeshu can be drunk around 6 months after pickling. It is characterized by a sharp taste with a hint of sourness left from the plums and a reduced sweetness. Those who like a refreshing taste or want to enjoy it with a meal should choose an aging period of less than one year.

Long-term over several years to several decades

    The strong acidity becomes milder when aged for two years or more. It becomes a Umeshu with richer aroma and milder taste. Comparing and enjoying the differences in flavor depending on the number of years of aging can be interesting too. Long-aged Umeshu can be enjoyed after a meal. It is ideal as an alcoholic beverage.

    Everyone’s taste in Umeshu is different, and blindly imitating other people’s preferences is sometimes not a good thing. There is no such thing as a high or low preference, so select the right Umeshu for yourself and enjoy it!

About Umeshu Lovers

Made with the finest ume plums from Japan, Umeshu is an apéritif with a sweet-sour flavour.  

Known commonly as “Japanese Plum Wine”, Umeshu is among the most well-known alcoholic beverages in Japan and is slowly gaining popularity worldwide.  

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