Umeshu: A Japanese Fruit Liqueur
Late May to June – season for making umeshu (plum liqueur)
Recently, when I go to the supermarket, I see empty bins, packs of sugar (rock), liqueur packs and ume (Japanese apricot) fruit being displayed near the entrance. Only then I’ve learned that from late May to June is season for unripe ume and so it is also a good time for making umeshu, a Japanese liqueur. Those items that I just mentioned are the basic ingredients.
Umeshu (Plum Liqueur) Product
Once in awhile, whenever I feel drinking, I would buy a bottle of umeshu. This is one of the umeshu products that I usually buy. It’s available in supermarkets ― even convenience stores.
Kishu, umeshu product from Choya
Kishu’s product label
“mi made oishii” (the fruits are delicious, too) ―
Oops, already half-way in just few days!
It has ume fruits inside and it’s mutenka, meaning it’s free from additives. For the tax-excluded price of 1,106 yen (about $11, as of the time of writing), it’s a little expensive compared to other products but with ume fruits plus it’s additive-free, well, I thought, it can’t be helped.
On its label, it indicates the following information:
– Alcohol content: 14%
– Contains 720ml of umeshu with 100ml of ume fruits
– Ingredients: ume (100% domestic product from Wakayama Prefecture), sugar, distilled alcohol and honey
Drinking alcohol during pregnancy or breastfeeding may cause harmful effects to unborn babies and infants.
Instruction – how to open the bottle
Umeshu with ume fruit
Take a bite!
(The taste of the fruit is a bit strong for me, though)
There are different ways to enjoy umeshu. You can have it straight, mixed with water, on the rock, or even mixed with green tea, at room temperature, cold or hot. For me, I prefer to have it with soda water, not sweetened, or cold water since I’m not strong with alcohol. I have even tried mixing it with milk and it turned out like yogurt drink which I actually liked. It has sweet, mild sour taste and aroma smell. Umeshu usually contains 10-15 percent of alcohol.
Benefits of Umeshu
Some of the benefits you can get from drinking umeshu are:
– Reduces fatigue
– Increases food appetite
– Relaxing effect for better sleep
– Contains vitamins and minerals, such as B17, potassium, magnesium, iron, and many more
Ume is abundant with citric acid. Citric acid is known to stimulate production of saliva and gastric fluid, which has a sterilizing effect against bacteria that causes diarrhea and helps increase food appetite respectively.
One of the problems that Japanese encounters every summer is loss of appetite. Drinking umeshu before meal might be a good countermeasure. Umeshu is also recommended for a nightcap, its relaxing effect prepares you for a better night sleep. Of course, don’t drink too much than needed, or else it will give you the opposite effect. It’s also important to note that it’s high in calorie, so large amount of consumption is not advisable.
For external use
Umeshu is also used as medicine for external use. To take advantage of its anti-inflammatory effect, there is an umeshu lotion that you can apply for skin burn and bruises as a compress. And it doesn’t stop there, it helps to soothe dry skin as well. Apply after taking a shower or bath for best result.
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