Umeshu and Japanese Fruit Liquor


Do you know about umeshu, Japanese plum wine?

There are many kinds of fruit liquors in the world. Even wine is a kind of them, as are limoncello and cider. In Finland, there is a strawberry liquor.

However, Japanese umeshu and fruit liquor are made in a unique way. It is made with crystal sugar. This is a very scientific topic, and I have written many articles about it in Japanese, but it is very difficult to translate them into English, so I will update them slowly. In case you are very curious about it, I put the link for Japanese articles.
基本の果実酒 梅酒、いちご酒、ラズベリー酒、オレンジ酒
基本の果実酒 梅酒、いちご酒、ラズベリー酒、オレンジ酒 果実酒といえば梅酒。実は、他の果物でも簡単に漬ける

First, here are the recipes for making basic plum wine and fruit wine.

Basic Umeshu and Japanese Strawberry, Raspberry and Orange Liquor

Have you ever tried Umeshu? The process is unique, but very simple. You can also make delicious Japanese fruit liquor from other fruits.
Prep Time0 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Rest After Cook21 d
Servings500 mL vodka
  • distilled liquor (vodka, etc., with about 35% alcohol is good) 500 mL
  • fruit (your favorite one) 200 g
  • sugar (or white sugar, *1) 100 g
Glass bottle (capacity about twice the amount of alcohol)
  • Sterilize the glass bottle (*2).
  • Wash the fruit well and drain thoroughly. See the recipe below for details.
For crystal sugar
  • Place the sugar and fruit in the jar.
  • Pour in the liquor and cover with a lid. Store at room temperature out of direct sunlight.
  • Shake gently once every few days. Do not over-shake (*3).
  • When the fruit starts to float, shake gently once a day and cover the surface with liquor (*4).
  • Let it mature and it is ready to enjoy.
For white sugar(*1)
    *I tried this with strawberries and was successful*
    • Place the fruit in a jar.
    • Pour in the liquor and cover with a lid. Store at room temperature out of direct sunlight.
    • When 1/4-1/3 of the way to completion has passed, open the lid and add the white sugar all at once.
    • Shake gently once every few days. Do not overmix (*3).
    • When the fruit floats to the surface, shake gently once a day and cover the surface with liquor (*4).
    • Let it mature and it is ready to enjoy.
    How to wash the fruit and how long to age
      • Wash the plums in water and remove any damaged ones.
      • Use a toothpick to remove the stems.
      • Allow to mature for at least 3 months.
      Strawberry Liquor
      • Wash strawberries in water and remove the stems. You can also hollow them out with a knife.
      • Leave to mature for 3 weeks.
      Raspberry Liquor
      • Wash raspberries in water.
      • Leave to ripen for one and a half months.
      Orange Liquor
      • Wash the peel thoroughly.
      • Cut into rounds and peel off the zest.
      • Remove the white fluffy parts inside the zest, on the surface of the thin skin, and in the center of the fruit.
      • Soak the peels together. Remove them after 1-2 weeks.
      • Allow to mature for 2 months.
      You can also use white sugar to make fruit wine. I have tried it with strawberries with success, but theoretically you could make it with any fruit.
      The basic way to sterilize glass bottles is to boil them. Boiling is where you put water and bottles in a pot and bring it to a boil.
      Pouring boiling water into a glass jar at room temperature will cause it to break. Even heat-resistant glass can break, so it’s best not to do so. Furthermore, it will not be effective enough to disinfect them.
      I put the washed bottles in the oven, heat them up to 180℃, keep them at 180℃ for 30 minutes, and then let them cool down in the oven. After that, I pour the liquor into the bottles, spread it all over, and let it dry. (However, the effect is limited, as alcohol requires 70-80% alcohol content to disinfect.)
      However, this method is “my method” and I don’t have enough evidence to support it because I haven’t been able to find any papers. I will summarize it after I find a good source.
      Over-mixing is a cause of failure. Just move the bottle gently. Never turn them.
      If the fruit is exposed to the air, it may become moldy.
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