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Japanese Plum Liqueur


Ume-shu is a traditional Japanese plum liqueur and one of the most popular alcoholic drinks to make at home in Japan. My late mother used to make a few large batches when plums were in season (May - June) every year, and now I'm taking over the tradition in my home in LA. She used to sip it on the rocks after dinner (or sometimes before dinner). I like it on the rocks or mix with sparkling water sometimes. Rich in vitamins, minerals and citric acid, ume-shu also known for its health benefits. A small glass of ume-shu every day can help removing fatigue from your body and rejuvenated.


5-qt (5-liter) glass jar, sterilized


About 2 qt (2 liters)


  • 2.2 - 2.5 lbs (1 - 1.5 kg) Ume (Japanese plum)
  • 2 pounds or more (about 950 g) crystal sugar
  • 2.4 qt (2.4 liters) neutral shochu (white liqueur) (25 - 30% al)


    1. Rinse the ume. Pick any stem's end attached to the skin and discard. Pat dry them very well.
    2. Put 1/3 of the ume into the jar, followed by 1/3 of the crystal sugar. Repeat twice more.
    3. Pour the white shochu into the jar.
    4. Cover tightly and let it rest in a cool area (avoid direct sunlight) for 6 months.
    5. Pour some of the liquid into a glass (with a piece or two of the ume) and enjoy.
    *Ume-shu can continue to age for a very long time. After a year, the flavor will become even richer. You can keep the ume in the liqueur meanwhile. One year, my mom found a forgotten batch of her ume-shu from 20 years ago. The volume was already reduced by 1/3 and the color was caramel color. We tried it, and it was super delicious and so precious!

      Suggestions to enjoy Ume-shu:

      *On the rocks
      *Mix with sparkling water
      *Mix with fruit juice

      Get the ingredients ready.

      Make the layers of the ume and crystal sugar.

      Finally, pour the shochu.

      The mixture will be rested for the next 6 month or longer until it's ready. 

      About the measurements used in our recipes

      For rice measurement, traditional Japanese rice measurement is used.
      • 1 rice-cup = 3/4 US cup = 180 ml
      Other conversions (US to metric measures)
      • 1 cup = 240 ml
      • 1 inch (1") = 2.5 cm
      • 1 ounce (1 oz) = 30 ml