Of the many unique products produced by household brands in Japan, Umeshu – a traditional Japanese plum liqueur is one of them. If you visit Japan for the first time, you need to know some of the best Umeshu brands to buy.
Umeshu is a Japanese delicacy made from the ume- fruit. They are rich and very alcoholic. In recent times, Umeshu has gained popularity on social media. In fact, there are many Umeshu cooking channels and we keep seeing them make these mouthwatering drinks.
Umeshu drinks are not only alcoholic, they are also good for exhaustion, preventing constipation, and will stimulate your appetite. So to get the best out of your visit to Japan, these are the best Umeshu brands to buy.
1. Choya Umeshu
The Choya Umeshu brand is quite a popular one in Japan. Owned by the Choya Umeshu Corporation, they produce some of the best Umeshu liqueur and their uniqueness precedes them. They joined the wine-making industry in 1914 and introduced their first Umeshu wine in 1956.
The Choya Umeshu brand has its specialty. They are known for producing Umeshu wine from only natural ingredients. So if you are looking to get something sweet, natural, with a rich combination of alcoholic reliability and medicinal usefulness, then this brand Umeshu is for you.
They have a variety of products like Yuzu, Sake, Non-Alcoholic drinks, Foodstuff, and Ume liqueur. They are most popular for their Umeshu wine, all ranging from authentic to unique while having that sweet and tart taste.
One very popular product from this brand is the Choya single year. With Choya single year, you get to taste not only the purest form of the Nankata fruit but also a drink with no artificial additives and flavoring, giving you the best of the ume fruit.
With this drink, you’ll get what you ordered; a high-quality rich drink that would certainly suit your taste. Also, the Choya single year can help you get rid of stress and facilitate your appetite. For a better evening dinner experience, try using ice cubes.
Other Ume liqueurs from this brand include Choya classic, Choya aged 3 years, Choya royal honey, and Choya Shiso. They are all great drinks you should try but I would recommend the Choya single year.
2. Suntory Umeshu
This is another Umeshu brand that will give you a run for your money. The Suntory Umeshu brand is owned by Suntory and was founded in 1923. You should know that Suntory liqueur is produced at the Yamazaki distillery reserve, in casks used to make whisky.
Suntory plum liqueur is a popular choice in Japan, having over 200 reviews on Amazon Japan. What makes this brand different is the way they produce their liqueur – an original Japanese fermentation and distillation technique.
Their plum liqueur is uniquely produced by staying age long in casks, giving it this distinct after taste, with a sophisticated, rich, and complex tone. Suntory Umeshu products are mildly alcoholic. Having just about 14% of alcohol content in every 660ml volume bottle.
When you try out their Suntory Casked Umeshu, you would get this distinctive aftertaste of plum liqueur that has matured over time, with a moderate sweetness that’ll leave your temple warm and your heart light.
What’s more, you will enjoy the vanilla fragrance from toasted casks and the rich flavored whisky aroma. So if you have the passion for a good drink, with that exquisite old and sweet aftertaste, Suntory brand Umeshu is most definitely a brilliant choice.
3. Manzairaku Umeshu
If you are looking for a plum wine with complete ume qualifications that can compete with any Umeshu liqueur in the market, then Manzairaku Umeshu is the brand to buy from. Their Umeshu products give you a complete cooking experience.
What’s more, it has this high aristocratic, royal taste with richly flavored tones. How this brand prepares its Umeshu is indeed special. Firstly, they have a superior sorting process where only red-violet plums are selected and soaked in some of the purest waters in Japan.
One popular go-to product is the Manzairaku Kaga Umeshu. It is made from benisashi-ume which is a rare variety. Interestingly, it is aged for over two years, giving off a rich, smooth aroma and flavor with a well-balanced sweetness. It contains 14% alcohol and can be served on the rocks or straight.
Manzairaku Kaga Umeshu has received international recognition and is used by international airlines. It is quite a popular plum liqueur, and was served at the 2013 “Nobel nightcap”. Owned by the Manzairaku brewery and founded in 1716, this brand is undisputedly one of the best Umeshu brands to buy from.
4. Gekkeikan Umeshu
Gekkeikan is another highly sought-after Umeshu brand in Japan. That the word Gekkeikan symbolizes victory makes it all the more reason for the brand to be unique. They produce some of the best, if not divine Umeshu.
In fact, Gekkeikan Company is one of the biggest makers of Umeshu (plum wine) and sake. They specialize in using plums different from conventional green plums. They use the ripened nanko ume. It gives a peach-like sweet aroma and a non-bitter flavor.
Gekkeikan Umeshu plum wine is a popular Umeshu from this brand. It is made by soaking nanko ume in sake alcohol and sugar until the flavor is blended with the alcohol. You can combine it with other beverages, and it can be used for a cocktail.
With its great taste, and 13% alcohol content, it will make a great dessert wine for your dinner. My advice, it is best served chilled.
5. Fu-ki Umeshu
Fu-ki Umeshu is a brand owned by the Godo Shusei Company limited. They have been in the business of making Umeshu since 1924 and have gained popularity in Japan. The word Fu-ki translates to mean rich and noble and so is the wine.
The Fu-ki Umeshi recipe has been a traditional Japanese secret for hundreds of years. The plum used is freshly processed, keeping its dewy freshness and flavor. It is light, sweet, fresh, and delicate with well-balanced acidity.
One interesting thing about this plum wine is its aftertaste. It is rich and long-lasting. Overall, the Fu-ki plum wine is delicious and is best served chilled. If you are looking for an alcoholic drink to bond overwork and relieve stress, then Fu-ki plum wine is worth giving a shot.
- Umeshu is not only delicious, but it also has many benefits
- You can make your own homemade Umeshu
- In Japan, you need to be 20 and above to experience this sweet tasting alcoholic beverage
- ensure you know what you want when scouting for Umeshu
Benefits of Umeshu
Japanese Umeshu has so many amazing health benefits. One reason why it is a recommendable alcoholic beverage. The fruits alone contain essential minerals like potassium, calcium, magnesium, and iron. Also, they possess antioxidants that keep you healthy.
When you drink Umeshu regularly, it boosts up your nutritional requirements and keeps you active. What’s more, it resolves issues like alcohol poisoning, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, running nose, and constipation.
Umeshu is also known to help keep the body in good shape. This liqueur is not only a good way to end your evening dinner or have a great cocktail party, but it is also good for your body.
How to make homemade Umeshu
If you want to try something different, then you can consider making homemade plum wine for yourself and your friends. To make this Japanese plum liqueur, you need to steep Ume in distilled water and sugar. Then keep for a while to ferment.
Since we are getting to the Japanese plum season which is mid-May to early June, fresh plum would be available for purchase.
First, you will need four major ingredients to make this happen. You can get them in any grocery store in Japan.
- Green ume plum
- White rock sugar/candy
- Distilled spirit/liquor
- Glass jar
After getting the following items, proceed to ferment the ume with sugar and distilled water in the glass jar. You can keep it for about six months. After which your homemade Umeshu is ready for use.
If you are like me who does not have the patience to wait out your homemade Umeshu, you can as well get from any of these brands. They are pricey but are worth every penny. You also need to put into consideration what you are looking for before you venture into buying Umeshu.
If you are visiting Japan for the first time or have just moved, you may have many concerns about how to blend in. However, going to a restaurant to get a few glasses of Umeshu will not only relieve you of work stress, but will also help you make new friends.
For flavor, taste, and nutritional value, Umeshu is just about the right alcoholic beverage for you. Though it tastes delicious and has significant health benefits, it is also an alcoholic. So drink responsibly.