Holiday Gift Guide

Do you remember my pickle pear liqueur, which turned out to really be called sickle pear liqueur?  Making fruit liquor is pretty easy. In Japan, when green plums (unripened plum) are available in June, many people make their own umeshu (plum wine). I know Mitsuwa market in New Jersey has the whole kit (plum, liquor, rock sugar and a jar) for a very very limited time in June, and I asked my colleague to check and see if they have it. He forgot, and now it's already July, the season is over. Damn.

So I was walking through the Greenmarket the other day, and found green plums. They are definitely different from what is used in Japan, but I liked the color, and decided to tackle another batch of fruit liqueur. This time, this will be a New York State green plum liqueur.

As you can see, they are green, and although they look unripe, they are actually ripe. I researched around to see if I can make plum liquor with ripened plums, and there was some mention of, "you can also use ripen plums, which will be sweeter than regular plum wine". Sounds good enough for me.

So I washed them, try to pick the belly button (which results in bitter aftertaste, apparently), and dumped them into a big jar.


No local Japanese grocery store had rock sugar (koori-sato), so I rented a Zipcar and went to Mitsuwa. I don't know if the FDA has changed some regulation, but even Mitsuwa didn't have rock sugar. I was pissed, but then saw brown rock sugar. I remembered that "brown sugar plum wine" is getting very good reviews in Japan.


I had no idea about the validity of using brown rock sugar, but I was like, what the hell, I need sweetness of sugar, brown or white, it's the same difference.


So I had two pounds of plum, 300gram (1 package) of brown rock sugar, and magnum bottle (1.75 liters) of cheap vodka in a jar.  It looks a bit poopy.


Two days later, the liquid is very dark.


I will be able to drink this in the fall, and will let you know how good or bad it turns out.
Column: ReCPY


  • Store bought plum wines are diluted. Any homemade liquor has to use 35% or higher alcohol due to bacterial concerns. There’s shochu (called white liquor in Japan) people usually use to make homemade liquors, but vodka is as close as it gets here in the States. Speaking of shochu, it’s also 35-40 % alcohol when they are made, but they dilute with water to make 25% alcohol contents. Many Japanese can’t digest higher alcohol maybe?

    yamahomo on

  • I didn’t realize you use vodka for this. Does that mean the plum wine will be ~80 proof?

    seri on

  • as long as you are alcoholic off of 25% alcohol level, you are a good alcoholics. When you go down to 80 proof shit, you are a bad alcoholic. There are rules for alcoholics. And I am definitely a bad alcoholic…

    yamahomo on

  • Considering Japan is a country full of alcoholics, this is so interesting:
    “Many Japanese can’t digest higher alcohol maybe?”

    kayoko on

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published