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What is umeshu and how is it done? – Japanese plum liqueur

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Good morning, my name is Honoka and I love drinking alcohol.

What is umeshu?

Umeshu (梅酒: うめしゅ) is one of the sake (酒: さけ) made by immersing the plum, which is harvested around June, in white liqueur, which is a distillate. It is known as a symbol of Japan along with sake, but unfortunately it is not as famous as sake in foreign countries.

It is often drunk at a banquet (暑気払い しょきばらい: literally, to dispel the heat) with co-workers in the summer. In Japan it is customary to talk for hours with colleagues in the workplace in summer and winter while drinking alcohol.

At a banquet, of course, the type of alcohol is important, but what they talk about together and the meals that are served are also important. It usually lasts until midnight, and those who wish can stay later and go to another store together with someone (二次会: にじかい).

History

Umeshu is a liqueur with a very long history, and is written in the literature that has been produced since the Edo period (江戸時代: えどじだい about 300 years ago). It has been homemade for a long time because it is easy to do. However, strictly speaking, the production and mixing of alcohol at home was illegal under the Liquor Tax Act, but became legal with the 1962 amendment.

The Japanese have been making umeshu at home for a long time, just as the Italians have been making limoncello at home.

Recipe

The ingredients

White liqueur (ホワイトリカー) 35%: 1800ml
Unripe plums: 1000g
Sugar cube (角 砂糖: かくざとう): 500g

The procedure

  1. Wash the plums and prepare them (remove the glass).
  2. Alternately place the plums and sugar in a large jar.
  3. Store in a cool, dark place and wait at least 2 months.

How and when you drink

There are people who wait 10 years from producing plum wine to drink it. The most delicious is said to be second year plum wine, but that depends on your taste.

You can drink it as it is, but you can also drink it with lots of ice, dilute it with water or dilute it with soda. If you like, you can dilute it with beer or add whiskey.

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