Your own home brew

by Yukari Pratt

Umeshu is one of a variety of kajitsushu (fruit liqueurs). The recipe for classic umeshu is simply green apricots (not plums), rock sugar and white liquor (a simple shochu) that has been left to steep for several months.

For generations, the drink has been made at home. If you are curious (and patient), why not give it a go?

Homemade kajitsushu

Making umeshu, one of the more popular kajitsushu, from scratch is very simple. Take 1 kg of green apricots that you have washed thoroughly. With a toothpick, carefully dislodge the stem from the top of the apricot. In a large glass container, mix the apricots with 500 grams of rock sugar. To that add 1.8 liters of white liquor or shochu.

Place in a cool area and allow to rest for three months. At this point you can drink it, but it will be light in flavor. It is best to wait a minimum of a year, which will give the umeshu more depth.

This base recipe can be applied to almost any fruit. Try lemons for an Italian limoncello, or yuzu for a Japanese version.

While umeshu is terrific chilled on its own, or on the rocks with a splash of soda, it can be consumed in a variety of ways. In winter, distiller Choya suggests mixing two parts red wine and one part warmed umeshu and sticking in a stick of cinnamon for a fruity version of a French vin chaud (or German gluhwein), or add to a cup of tea for cold winter nights.

Related stories:
Sweet tipple comes of age (main story)
What type are you?
The hunt begins here
Picks to sip