• What is Umeshu?

    Umeshu, which is a representative liqueur of Japan, is made by steeping Japanese apricots (ume) in liquor and sugar, leaving it to mature for several months or as long as several years, then extracting the components. As it can also be made easily at home, it is a beverage that many people are familiar with.

    History

    The Japanese apricot is a tree of the Rosaceae family, and it originated in China. China’s Book of Documents (“Shangshu”) from around 2000 BC mentions yanmei (salty plums), and is said to be the oldest written description of the fruit. It was introduced to Japan during the Yayoi period from the basin of the Yangtze River in China, which is its original habitat. Green ume that had not yet ripened were smoked to make ubai, which were used as a form of traditional Chinese medicine. During the Edo period, the Japanese apricot was planted by farming families so that they could use the ume fruit as a preserved food and for home remedies. As the harvested ume cannot be eaten as it is, it was processed, stored, and consumed in the form of umeboshi and umeshu.

    Production method

    1. Select the ume that is most suitable for the making of umeshu, and harvest relatively large fruit that is thick and juicy, and of uniform quality.

    2. Steep the harvested ume in liquor and sugar.

    3. Keep it away from light and air as far as possible, and leave it to mature slowly in an ageing tank with relatively few temperature changes.

    What is Honkaku Umeshu?

    Honkaku umeshu refers to umeshu that uses only Japanese apricots, sugar, and liquor as ingredients, without the addition of any acidulants, coloring, or flavoring agents. Honkaku umeshu is a liqueur made by fully harnessing the original fragrance and taste of the ume.
    *To ensure that the differences in ingredients are clearly communicated to consumers, the consumer’s group, Japan Spirits and Liqueurs Makers Association, defines umeshu made only from ume as honkaku umeshu.