Ume-shu is a traditional Japanese plum liqueur and one of the most popular alcoholic drinks to make at home in Japan. My late mother used to make a few large batches when plums were in season (May – June) every year, and now I’m taking over the tradition in my home in LA. She used to sip it o the rocks after dinner (or sometimes before dinner). I like it on the rocks or sometimes enjoy it mixed with sparkling water. Rich in vitamins, minerals,, and citric acid, ume-shu is also known for its health benefits. A small glass of ume-shu every day can help remove fatigue from your body and rejuvenate it.
Vegan optionThis is a vegan dish/ drink.
5-qt (5 L) glass jar, sterilized
YeildAbout 2 qt (2 liters)
- 2.2 – 2.5 lbs (1 – 1.5 kg) Ume (Japanese plum)
- 2 pounds or more (about 950 g) crystal sugar
- 2.4 qt (2.4 liters) neutral shochu (white liqueur) (25 – 30% al)
- Rinse the ume. Pick any stems attached to the skin and discard. Pat to dry them very well.
- Put 1/3 of the ume into the jar, followed by 1/3 of the crystal sugar. Repeat twice more.
- Pour the white shochu into the jar.
- Cover tightly and let it rest in a cool area (avoid direct sunlight) for 6 months.
- Pour some of the liquid into a glass (with a piece or two of the ume) and enjoy.
Suggestions to enjoy the Ume-shu:
- On the rocks
- Mix with sparkling water
- Mix with fruit juice
Get the ingredients ready.
Make layers of the ume and crystal sugar.
Finally, pour the shochu.
The mixture will be rested for the next 6 months or longer until it’s ready.
Ume–shu can continue to age for a very long time. After a year, the flavor will become even richer. You can keep the ume in the liqueur meanwhile. One year, my mom found a forgotten batch of her ume-shu from 20 years ago. The volume was already reduced by 1/3 and the color was caramel. We tried it and it was super delicious and so precious!