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CHOYA Umeshu

green bottle with a thick white top and white label containing small green fruits

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CHOYA Umeshu


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!

Bottle Specs

❖ 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

glencairan glass filled with straw colored liquid with a green bottll with a thick white top in the background


CHOYA Kamikazi

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.

Bottom Line


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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  1. Mihaela |

    It sounds like it could be used in baking because of the witness. It is the first time I hear of this liqueur.

  2. Kari

    This sounds delicious and perfect for summer nights! But I also don’t like my drinks too sweet, so using soda water is a good idea to cut the sweetness. I’ll look for Choya Umesue when I go to the Asian market next!

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