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6 luscious umeshu plum wines to try now

In the full blazing heat of a Bangkok day, we could all use a sweet sip after work. Fresh and fragrant, umeshu poured over ice, or served with sparkling water, is probably one of the best summer evening aperitif. The traditional Japanese liqueur is often referred to as plum wine, but it is actually made from the tart, unripe ume. Similar to plum, ume shares the same genus as peach and apricot. Mellow in taste and fruity in flavour, the umeshu is a refreshing libation with a delightful citrus tang. Besides the classic selection umeshu from Choya, we’d recommend you trying these 6 little-known umeshu.

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Kozaemon Junmai Umeshu

Umeshu is normally made from the distilled spirit shochu and ume fruits. However, the prestige sake brewery Kozaemon has decided to create this exquisite umeshu with junmai sake and regional ume from Wakayama prefecture. Deliciously perfumed, the well-balanced umeshu is not as sweet as the usual ones you’d encounter. The tipple is best served on the rocks and paired with rich flavours such as foie gras, pâté and cheese.

Available for purchase at Wishbeer, Sukhumvit 67, Khwaeng Phra Khanong Nuea,Bangkok, +66 2 392 1403

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Takasago Sakusaku Umeshu

‘Sakusaku’ is the Japanese onomatopoeia for a light, crispy crunch. Wondering what that has to do with an umeshu? Besides enjoying this liqueur on the rocks or with soda, Takasago Sakusaku Umeshu can be savoured as a sorbet. Simply pour the umeshu into a container, freeze it for about two to three hours and voilà! We’d recommend treating this sweet sorbet as a palate cleanser in between courses. The cool sensation that it leaves on your palate is absolutely phenomenal.

Toritama, 18 Park Lane, Soi Sukhumvit 63 Road, Klong Tan Nuea, Wattana Bangkok, +66 2 382 0141

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Nakano Kishu Wahou Gokan

Wakayama prefecture is most famous for its fresh local produce, especially mikan mandarin oranges and ume. In this fragrant blend of umeshu, Nakano Brewery includes five distinctive types of oranges from Wakayama. From the grapefruit-sized hassaku orange to the daidai bitter citrus, each of the five fruits enhances this liqueur with its unique taste and profile. In result, the refreshing umeshu is elevated with delicious notes of citrus, sour and bitter. It has a complex aroma, and its flavour can be described as a cross between grapefruit and tangerine. With a slight bitter undertone too, this umeshu makes quite the impression.

Hanakaruta Sake Bar, 36/4 Sukhmvit 39, Klongton Nue, Wattana, Bangkok, +66 84 735 4577

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Nakano Kishu Shiso Umeshu

Infused with red shiso, a Japanese herb that is traditionally used for colouring the pickled plum umeboshi, the umeshu is enhanced with a slightly bitter, mint-like flavour. Nakano has also created this blend with Wakayama’s premium ume and local red shiso, making this umeshu one of their signature regional liqueur. Sweet, fragrant and refreshing, this umeshu is designed to be an aperitif served on the rocks. However, its ruby-red hue and subtle bitterness make this umeshu popular among mixologists.

Hanakaruta Sake Bar, 36/4 Sukhmvit 39, Klongton Nue, Wattana, Bangkok, +66 84 735 4577

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Miinokotobuki Shiroi Umeshu

Most umeshu are lightly tinted with amber or caramel tones; have you tried an umeshu that is creamy white? That might seem a bit unusual, even to a native Japanese person. And yet Miinokotobuki has created this extraordinary blend of umeshu with lactic acid from yoghurt. Imagine umeshu shaken with your favourite childhood drink Yakult. With the addition of yoghurt, the fruity liqueur gains a soft creaminess and smooth, milky mouthfeel. After each delicate sip, you’ll also find the sweetness of the ume and junmai sake lingering on your palate. This umeshu is high on our list.

Orihara Shoten Bangkok, 18 Park Lane, Soi Sukhumvit 63 Road, Klong Tan Nuea, Wattana Bangkok, +66 2 382 0131

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Kinmon Akita Eternal Plum Shizuku Ginsen

Combining premium nankou-ume from Wakayama and 10-year-old vintage aged sake (also known as koshu), Kinmon Akita handcrafted this wonderfully complex umeshu. This particular blend of plum wine has a very strong nose, boasting sweet scents of ume. With both citrus acids of the fruits and amino acids from the koshu, the umeshu has a very distinctive sweet-sour tang. This elegant liqueur is bold in flavour, and it would pair beautifully well with seafood and poultry dishes.

Le Cochon Blanc, Sukhumvit 31, Klongton-Nua, Wattana, 26 Soi Phrom Chit, Khlong Tan Nuea, Watthana, Bangkok, +66 2 662 3814

Rachel Kwok

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