This reminds us of...
The moment you check into a hotel lobby.
Try this if...
You are looking for a more subtle sweetness in your umeshus.
Pssst, did you know...
The green tea used in this was harvested from the Uji region in Japan and brewed via cold brew method to minimise bitterness and yield a more subtle flavour.
Addictive tangy-sweet plum flavor aside, part of the reason why umeshu has come to be so popular in Japan also comes down to its accessibility.
Unlike most other types of alcohol, umeshu is incredibly easy to make on your own at home. While technically called plum wine, umeshu doesn’t have to be fermented like wine, and the basic steps of making a batch involve just combining ume, sugar and neutral spirit into a sealed container and leaving it to steep for some time.
Umeshu lends itself well to being made at home. To make umeshu, ume plums are left to steep in a pre-made spirit and sugar. (Image source: Justonecookbook).
The simplicity of this process also exempts umeshu from Japan's otherwise strict laws forbidding the production of alcoholic beverages at home. Even the act of fermenting a batch of your own homemade beer - let alone distilling alcohol - can get you into the crosshairs of authorities. However, since umeshu essentially just involves soaking fruit and sugar into pre-made liquor, minimal added alcohol is created during this process. Hence, it’s completely legal to be making this stuff at home. In fact, it’s somewhat of a custom for mothers in Japan to make a batch of umeshu on their kid’s birth day, before opening the container once the kid reaches a legal drinking age.
One day, I always tell myself, I’m going to make my own batch. Yet, despite the relative ease of making umeshu, I'll admit it might be long time before I get to doing it. Each time the thought occurs to me, my next thought follows: “But there’s already a bottle of Green Tea Choya in your fridge. Can your own home-made umeshu top that?” Probably not.
Choya Uji Green Tea Umeshu - Tasting Notes
Color: Light yellow, jasmine tea
Aroma: Notes of fragrant jasmines, sour plum. There's a crispness to it that smells like the air around you when there's fresh snow during winter.
Taste: My immediate throught is that this tastes like green tea cold brew! Here, the tea note has a more roasted quality to it - a hojicha variation rather than a milky matcha. This blends really nicely with notes of fresh plum and some light honey.
This umeshu is very, very light-bodied and the sweetness is really subtle.
Finish: Short, with a mild dryness and slight bitterness. The fresh plum note I get on the palate here evolves in the finish to resemble more of a preserved plum (with more faint fermented taste).
It’s welcoming, refreshing, and hospitable. Think of the moment you check into a hotel, and the reception serves you a slightly sweetened ice tea drink that signals it’s time to relax. Light and approachable in a way that would appeal to everyone.