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About Choya Umeshu
I’ve always been curious about the bottles of umeshu on the shelfs of my local Japanese market but this is my first experience with the drink. And CHOYA Umeshu is the perfect introduction since it’s one of the most popular brands in Japan.
“Ume” means plum and “shu” means wine in Japanese but umeshu is really closer to a liqueur than wine. It’s made by aging green, unripe ume in shochu and sugar. Shochu is a distilled Japanese spirit that shares some similarities to sake. The CHOYA website has more detailed information on the history of umeshu and the traditional Japanese ingredients.
A visually appealing aspect of Choya Umeshu is the ume fruit in the bottle. They are meant to be eaten and I think they are a similar experience as brandied cherries. They are bit more alcoholic and more sour. And watch out for the pit!
❖ Spirit: Umeshu ( Plum Wine)
❖ Distillery: CHOYA Umeshu Co., LTD
❖ ABV: 14.6%
❖ Low Price
My Tasting Notes
❖ Color: Straw
❖ Nose: Sweet plum, fruit juice, faint smell of alcohol
❖ Taste: Candy-like sweetness, heavy plum, slight citrus tartness
❖ Finish: Short, plum, citrus, candy
1/2 oz (15ml) lime juice
1/2 oz (15ml) CHOYA Umeshu
1 oz (15ml) 30ml vodka
❖ Pour the CHOYA, vodka, and lime juice into a cocktail shaker, and fill with ice cubes
❖ Shake well and strain into a martini glass.
Since this is my first time trying umeshu, I was excited to see some cocktail recipes from experienced sources. I’m still browsing the internet for more recipes but the CHOYA website had a bunch of appealing cocktails. The CHOYA Kamikazi was particularly interesting to me because I’ve never seen a 2 oz cocktail before.
I really enjoyed this cocktail and the ratio of ingredients was perfectly balanced. The umeshu counters the bitterness in the lime and the vodka adds a thicker mouthfeel. It basically tasted like limeade so it’s a bit dangerous. I also tried made this drink with lemon as a substitute for the lime and it was also delicious.
I’m glad my first experience with umeshu is this positive so I can wholeheartily recommend CHOYA Umeshu. It has a delicious blend of sweet and tart that tastes great by itself or mixed in cocktails. And the ume in the bottles make for a nice treat.
I think it’s a bit too sweet for me to drink neat but there are tons of easy ways to add dilution. Even just a few ice cubes help but I also enjoyed adding club soda to make a plum soda. I also really enjoyed the CHOYA Kamikazi and look forward to making more recipes from the CHOYA website and experimenting on my own.
CHOYA is also reasonably priced. I payed about $15 from my local Japanese market but I have seen it cheaper at other asian markets and bigger retailers like Total Wine. A well deserved 4 out of 5 stars.
As always, drink responsibly.
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