Umeshu is gaining worldwide popularity due to its distinctive and rich flavor.
In addition, its sweetness makes it easy to drink for those who dislike alcohol’s bitterness.
In the past, it was mainly used as medicine for sore throats, but the relaxation of liquor laws allowed more people to start brewing it at home.
But how do you serve Umeshu?
What’s the correct way to drink it for maximum enjoyment?
Read on to discover more about this alcoholic beverage.
The Best Way To Drink Umeshu
You might want to drink your Umeshu straight or neat if you’re a purist.
However, such drinks are best served at room temperature.
Umeshu on the Rocks
Whiskey lovers will tell that it’s best served ‘on the rocks.’ This is slang for a drink served over ice.
Besides the obvious cooling, the ice brings out the flavors and aromas. However, the practice isn’t so common when serving wine.
Drinking chilled wine is enjoyable, especially on a warm summer afternoon.
However, people don’t like serving wine over ice because it dilutes it instead of accentuating flavors as it does with whisky. Others claim that adding ice is uncultured.
Regardless, drinking Umeshu on the rocks doesn’t disappoint.
As the ice melts, you can feel a gradual change in the drink’s flavor. When served chilled, it has a subdued tart taste.
To Do This – Place a block of ice in a whiskey tumbler and pour a little Umeshu over it. Ensure you don’t overdo the ice to avoid watering down the drink.
Umeshu with Water
If you don’t like your Umeshu neat, you can mix it with water to make it lighter and swallowable.
Adding water to wine is called mizuwari.
The recommended mixing ratio is 1:2, meaning two parts of water for every part of the wine.
However, adding too much water dilutes the drink. Avoid ruining the Umeshu by tasting it when you add a few drops of water.
Umeshu with Hot Water
During the cold season, Japanese people usually take Umeshu with hot water.
Mixing alcoholic beverages with hot water is called oyuwari.
Mixing Umeshu with hot water brings out the vapors since alcohol has a low boiling point. The mists blend with the aroma of fresh plums to produce a tasty, relaxing drink.
Oyuwari Umeshu is best taken before bedtime or when you want to warm up in the cold season. Taking it at night relaxes your muscles, improving sleep quality.
Unlike cold water, hot water doesn’t alter the taste of Umeshu. Instead, it accentuates it. Therefore, the recommended mixing ratio is 1:1.
Avoid using boiling water when preparing oyuwari Umeshu. As noted above, the alcohol evaporates at high temperatures.
Therefore, lukewarm water is best to preserve the drink’s alcoholic content. Also, too hot water is undrinkable.
Umeshu with Soda
Sometimes, water can taste so bland that you want something more exciting.
One way to spice up your Umeshu is to add soda, known as tansawari in Japanese.
Soda is sweet and fizzy, which lightens Umeshu’s strong flavor. The carbonic acid in the soda also increases the beverage’s flavor.
When choosing a soda, avoid the fruity flavors. Instead, pick a coke or citrus-flavored drink.
These are mildly sweet and don’t significantly alter Umeshu’s rich taste. Also, check the amount of soda you add because too much of it causes dehydration.
Umeshu with Food
Although many people take Umeshu as an appetizer, it also works as a food accompaniment.
For Instance – you can pair it with popular Japanese dishes like sashimi and sushi. Drinking Umeshu alongside food subdues its taste but doesn’t clash with the food’s delicate flavors.
You can serve it chilled, on the rocks, or even warmed.
Umeshu goes well with rich-flavored foods, such as Sichuan sauce.
Unlike Sake, Umeshu tastes good with spicy foods.
You’ll notice the subtle difference between the drink’s tartness and the dishes’ tanginess.
If you have a sweet tooth, pair your meals with frozen Umeshu, mizorezake.
Mizorezake is similar to frozen margarita and pairs well with ice cream.
Choya Umeshu is perhaps the best Umeshu type for pairing with food. After consuming the drink, you can use the ume plums to garnish your dishes.
Atypical Ways of Drinking Umeshu
The methods mentioned above are the more popular ways of consuming Umeshu.
However, many people aren’t aware of the following atypical practices.
Umeshu with frozen fruit
You can add a fruity touch to your Umeshu by mixing it with frozen fruit.
Although you can use any fruit, it’s advisable to use sweet and sour fruits in the same family as ume plums.
- and raspberries
After mixing fruits with the wine, you can drink it as it is, but this won’t bring out the best flavors.
The best way to take it is to drink while crushing the fruit. The mix of plum and frozen fruit leaves a pleasant sensation on your tongue.
Besides tasting great, Umeshu with frozen fruit looks good. You can serve it at parties.
Umeshu with iced tea
Another lesser-known way of taking Umeshu is by mixing it with iced tea.
You can use it with black or green iced teas.
Iced tea is typically astringent; combining it with the subtle sweetness of plum wine results in a refreshing drink.
Moreover, the tea brings out the drink’s flavor.
Umeshu with vanilla ice cream
Many people take Umeshu as an aperitif, but do you know it can make a great dessert?
You must pour a little wine over vanilla ice cream, and you’ll have a sensational adult treat.
The slight bitterness of wine, the subtle aroma of alcohol, and the sweetness of vanilla ice cream combine to create a luxurious, tasty, and refreshing dessert.
Due to its rich flavor, mixologists like experimenting with Umeshu in different cocktail recipes.
Like other cocktails, choices are endless, with your options limited to your creativity.
That said, popular Umeshu cocktails include:
- Umeshu mojito – combines Japanese plum wine with brown sugar, lime, and mint leaves. You can add a little soda to taste.
- Umeshu martini – combines Umeshu with vodka and lime fruits. This is ideal for those who prefer something stronger than typical Umeshu.
- Umeshu spritz – combines Umeshu with a dash of citrus-flavored soda. You can garnish with a few lemon wedges.
FAQs About Umeshu
1. Is umeshu healthy?
The ume fruits used to make Umeshu are rich in antioxidants which prevent fatigue by aiding muscle recovery and mitigating the harmful effects of oxidation.
Antioxidants also fight free radicals that increase the risk of different cancers.
2. Can you eat the ume fruits in umeshu?
Although ume fruits are bitter if eaten straight, soaking in alcohol makes them soft and delicious. You can eat the plums or use them for cooking and baking.
3. Does umeshu expire?
Umeshu doesn’t expire, provided you prepared it correctly. Instead, its quality improves with time, like whisky and fine wines.
4. Is home brewing legal?
While brewing most alcoholic beverages at home is illegal, Japan allows locals to make Umeshu at home. However, its alcohol content shouldn’t exceed 20% alcohol by volume.
Every person has their preferred way of drinking Umeshu.
Whether you like it neat or with water, drinking this beverage is refreshing and has many health benefits.
However, overconsumption increases the risk of alcohol-related health complications.
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