Sunday, May 9, 2010

DIY Drinks!

One of the more popular drinks in Japan is Japanese plum wine (梅酒 - umeshu). However, there are a number of different fruits that can be used in addition to Japanese plums. Some of the more common flavors are regular plum, apple, yuzu, and peach, but these are usually not sold in bars, rather they are made at home. Being someone who lives in a house, I thought I'd give it a try. I had hoped to use regular plums, but they are not a common fruit here in Japan and so not easily found. Instead I settled on Mexican Mangos which are also called Apple Mangos.

The recipe is very simple -
1kg of fruit
200-400 grams of sugar
1.8 liters of Shochu, which is often called Soju in the US
A complete lack of urgency

Here are the ingredients (lack of urgency not pictured)

You simply cut the fruit up (actually, this depends on the fruit - something like a plum with a thin skin you just add them whole, something like a yuzu or lemon with a think rind, you peel first but leave the rind in the mix)
and drop it into a large plastic jar as such:

add the sugar and shochu/soju (焼酎)and viola!

As you can possibly suss from the label, there is a bit of a waiting process - this was made on May 5th, and so should be ready to drink in time for the big summer fireworks festivals in August - although 3 months is more like a minimum for these things, it really is supposedly much better to wait about 6 to 8 months, and for the plums, some people say to wait a whole year for the best flavor. So this isn't really what I would call a Martha Stewart-style quick fix to unexpected guests that can be whipped up in a jiffy. (complete sidetrack - in what world are people always just dropping by unannounced and somehow expecting to be fed something? Wouldn't regularly feeding them do nothing to discourage this behavior? Did Martha whip up something quick to feed the officers who came to bust her for insider trading? - discuss amongst yourselves)

In about a month I will have a taste to see how it's progressing (at that point apparently you can get a sense of whether this will end up as something drinkable or a total waste of ¥2,000)


  1. Is this the only way I can get you to eat fruit??!! Oy! All that sugar! Your teeth will rot! Didn't I teach you anything??
    your mother

  2. Woah! Can't wait until August to taste that drink.
    That would really make you look cool if you serve it to the Japanese women of your dream! That is if your experiment is a success.. ;)