Plum wine, called Ume-shu is very popular in Japan. Plum wine is plum infused sweetened liquor. It is fun to make, looks cool sitting in the container, and the taste is well worth the wait. Here is my Ume-shu collection.
To make the plum wine we need these three ingredients: Japanese plums (ume), liquid, and rock sugar.
In Japan, when the plums are still green, we would soak them in Shochu (strong clear Japanese liquor) with rock sugar. Because it is difficult to get a big bottle of Shochu in Boston, I use vodka instead. Vodka is also strong and clear liquor. The good thing about homemade plum wine is that you can be flexible and add some variations. If you like vodka, that is a great choice for making plum wine but you can also use sherry or brandy too. I like the taste of these 2 liquors so I also make plum sherry and plum brandy too.
You can also change the sweetness of your plum wine. I like sweet plum wine so I use the full amount of rock sugar. Using rock sugar is actually an important point. It takes time to melt, so little by little the plum flavor is extracted into the liquor. It usually takes about 1 year for the Ume-shu to get the entire flavor from the fruit. I actually leave it for even longer to really build up its flavor. You can drink Ume-shu with club soda, ice water, or just on the rocks. I like to drink it on the rocks.
You can eat the soaked plums if you like, but keep in mind it has been soaked in the alcohol for a long time! We can also make jam or desserts with the soaked plums.
Ask the Japanese super market near you if they carry green plums. Usually they carry them from May to June. Enjoy your own homemade Ume-shu!
Homemade Plum Wine (Ume-shu)
· 1lbs of plums
· 1lbs of rock sugar
· 1liter of vodka, brandy, or sherry
· big container for the plum wine
1. Wash the plums and take away the black stem carefully with a toothpick. Pat dry or it will get moldy easily.
2. Wash and dry the big container, then sterilize it with vodka.
3. In the sterilized container, put the rock sugar and plums alternately in layers, and pour in the liquor.
4. Store the Ume-shu container in a cool place and leave for a year or more.
5. If you want to keep the Ume-shu for a long time, you should remove the plums.