10 Best Umeshu in Japan
Find about some of the best Japanese plum wines (Umeshu)
Have you ever heard of Umeshu? Umeshu, also known as Japanese plum wine, is a highly popular alcoholic beverage in Japan, especially among people who don’t drink alcoholic beverages regularly.
Unfortunately, umeshu is not very widely known by foreign visitors yet. When talking about Japanese alcoholic beverages, foreign visitors will first think of Japanese Sake. However, many who try this Japanese plum wine for the first time tend to love it.
In this article, I will explain some basic facts about umeshu as well as introduce to you 10 of the best umeshu brands that you can purchase online.
*Please note that this article contains affiliate links.
What is Umeshu?
Umeshu (梅酒), commonly referred to as plum wine, is a Japanese alcoholic beverage made by steeping ume plums in liquor and sugar. Although known as “plum wine”, it is not technically a wine because of the way it is prepared.
The main ingredient is ume (梅) which is a type of plum that is sour if you eat it. Ume is usually consumed in Japan by preparing it pickled with salt to make umeboshi or by mixing it with liquor to make umeshu. The other important ingredient is the liquor used to steep the plums. Usually, shochu (焼酎) is used for this; however, white liquor, brandy, and vodka are also commonly used.
The end product has an alcohol content of about 15% and is usually sweet and sour, making it really easy to drink. This makes it a popular choice among people who are not used to drinking many alcoholic beverages.
Also, umeshu is said to have some beneficial properties due to the ume plums used. It is rich in citric acid and antioxidants, making it good for recovery from fatigue. It is also said to be good for the digestive system. Ume plums are also rich in vitamins and minerals, having properties that benefit your skin and hair.
How to drink Umeshu?
Umeshu is usually enjoyed straight or on the rocks. Since it is sweet and sour, many feel like it doesn’t need anything added. However, recently it is becoming popular to be used in cocktails.
Also, there are many people who make their own homemade umeshu. This is really easy to make, so many people prepare in order to have an end product that matches their taste.
Ok, now that you know the basics of umeshu, let me introduce to you 10 of the most popular shochu brands. If you’re interested, you can get these brands online!
1. Choya Smooth Plum Wine
The first Japanese plum wine on our list is Choya Smooth Plum Wine (さらりとした梅酒). This umeshu is made by Choya which is one of the leading companies producing umeshu.
This umeshu is made in Mie prefecture and comes in three types of presentations. It is arguably the most popular umeshu product out there.
2. Choya Plum Wine Kishu
Choya Plum Wine Kishu (紀州梅酒) is another umeshu produced by the company Choya. This product is produced in Osaka prefecture and as you can see, it contains the ume plums in the bottle.
These ume plums inside the bottle are perfectly eatable and are delicious since the sweet and sour taste of the liquor is well absorbed. In other words, you can enjoy this product by both eating it and drinking it.
3. Suntory Plum Wine
Suntory Plum Wine (サントリー梅酒 山崎樽熟成) is a Japanese plum wine made by the large Japanese beverage company Suntory. Suntory is not commonly known for making umeshu, but they used their knowledge of making whisky to prepare a unique kind of umeshu.
This umeshu is made using whisky barrels, so you will notice this in both flavor and fragrance. If you order it from the link below, it will come with a glass.
4. Suntory Plum Wine (Barrel Finish)
Suntory Plum Wine (Barrel Finish) is another Japanese plum wine made by Suntory. The way it is prepared is similar to the last one on this list; however, this one has a more inexpensive price.
The difference is in the way it is prepared. This umeshu is also made by steeping the ume plums in Suntory’s Yamazaki brand whisky barrels. Besides this, brandy is added to adjust the taste.
5. Suiryu Umeshu
Suiryu Umeshu (睡龍 梅酒) is made by Kubo Honke Shuzo (久保本家酒造) which is a brewery established in Nara prefecture in 1702.
This is not quite the same as the usual umeshu that you can find anywhere. While regular Umeshu is made by soaking ume plums in shochu, Suiryu is made by soaking the ume plums in Japanese Sake. Because of this, the end product is significantly more mellow and less tart than usual umeshu products.
Sui-Umeshu (すいうめ酒) is made by Yoshimura Hideo Shoten(𠮷村秀雄商店) which is a brewery established in Wakayama prefecture in 1914. Similar to the last umeshu on this list, this is also a unique Japanese plum wine.
Besides soaking the ume plums in Japanese Sake, in order to make Sui, twice the amount of plums are used compared to regular Umeshu. This makes the end product more mellow, sweet, and intense than the usual umeshu.
Koi-Umeshu (こいうめ酒) is another umeshu made by Yoshimura Hideo Shoten(𠮷村秀雄商店). Just like the previous product, this umeshu is also very unique.
Koi-Umeshu is made by pureeing the plums used to make this umeshu and then mixing them back into the liquor as opposed to regular umeshu which is made by steeping the whole ume plum. Because of this, the end product has a pulpy texture that is not only tasty to drink but can also be used as a topping for desserts.
8. Choya Umesh
Umesh (Choya ウメッシュ) is another umeshu made by Choya. This product is a little different compared to the other ones on this list due to the fact that this is technically an “umeshu sour”. In other words, this product is umeshu with club soda added to it. It is a good option for those who like mixing umeshu with club soda.
9. Sapporo Otokoume Sour
Sapporo Otokoume Sour (サッポロ男梅サワー) is a product made by the beverage company Sapporo. Just like the last product on this list, this is not technically an umeshu, but it is an “umeboshi sour”, meaning that the ingredients are: shochu, club soda, and umeboshi.
It is a stronger version of the last product on this list, so if have tried the last one and felt that you like a stronger sour drink, then this might be the perfect option for you.
10. Kirin Hyoketsu Ume
And lastly, on this list, we have Kirin Hyoketsu Ume (キリン氷結ウメ). This is yet another “ume sour” just like the last two products on this list. This one is made by the other large Japanese beverage company Kirin.
One difference about this product is that the base alcohol used is vodka. It is also the most inexpensive option out of the three.
I hope you liked this article about the best umeshu. If you liked this article and want to know more about Japanese drinks, be sure to check out the following articles as well!