Ume-Shu is a sweet alcoholic beverage traditionally made in Japan by steeping green plums in white wine or other bases such as brandy or saké and letting it ferment over the course of a year. Commonly called "plum wine," the beverage is enjoyed alone or mixed into other drinks to incorporate the uniquely sweet, sour and sometimes saccharine flavour that is often favourable even among those who don't drink alcohol regularly. While there are hundreds of Japanese plum wines, Ume-Shu always offers a sweet, acidic taste and pleasant aroma and is to be enjoyed as an aperitif, compliment with dinner or as a digestif.
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Plum Wine & Saké
Almost any bar or restaurant that serves saké will serve a combination drink of saké and plum wine. Typically only a fraction of plum wine is needed in comparison to the saké, and most American recipes call for 1/4 cup of plum wine for every cup of saké used, and the result may be served warm or chilled over ice. Other recipes call for more plum wine than saké, as one cocktail calls for 59.1ml. plum wine and 1 14.2gr. sake poured over ice to make one drink.
A Japanese Jack, or Japanese Jim, is a refreshing cocktail made with plum wine and lemon-lime soda. Since this drink is typically a favourite of those with a sweet tooth, a Japanese Jack can be made with bourbon or whiskey to help balance out the usual overly-sweet taste. To make your very own Japanese Jack, fill a large Collins glass with ice cubes and 59.1ml. of plum wine, 147ml. of soda, whiskey if you desire and stir. Garnish with a lemon or lime wedge and enjoy.
Gaining popularity in America is a sweet and sour Japanese cocktail made from equal parts plum wine and vodka served over ice with a green plum garnish. Typically known as a Samurai, this drink is known for its bite that starts off sour, like a lime, and is followed by the sweet, full flavour of plum wine. To make two cocktails, pour 1/4 cup each of plum wine, vodka and sake over ice in a shaker, and add a think slice of fresh ginger. Shake the mixture until chilled, and strain into martini glasses garnished with a wedge of lime, green plum, crystallised ginger or all three.
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