Umami Mart Registry

You may recall that both Yoko and Yamahomo have shown us how to make umeshu (plum liqueur) on Umamimart (here and here). The season for ume is super short, and people in Japan scramble for them at the supermarkets to make their yearly batch of umeshu. After picking our own ume from a magical backyard in Berkeley, and prepared umeboshi (pickled plums), we were now ready to get our umeshu on. This is seriously the easiest recipe and preparation ever, it will blow your mind.

UMESHU (Plum Liqueur)


1kg Fresh ume (green in color is best; make sure you wash and take out stem like we did here)
600g Rock sugar (We used Japanese rock sugar, but whatever rock sugar you can find should be fine)
1.8L Vodka

*Please double/quadruple ratios as you wish. Sylvan decided to make our batch with 55% sugar, so this is the ratio we used.


In Japan, you use "white liquor" which is basically a cheap mashup liquor of whatever is leftover from the sake breweries. Vodka elsewhere will work fine. Honestly, don't even bother buying the good stuff like Belvedere, it's just a waste for umeshu since there's so much sugar involved. We used the superbly janky VODKA OF THE GODS. Holler.



1. Get a big receptacle that will hold all your ume and alcohol. Anything from a big glass Ball jar, to a commercial-sized tupperware will work fine.

2. Layer the ume and rock sugar proportionally.


Ume, sugar, ume, sugar...


... Get it???


3. Once all the ume and sugar is in, pour over alcohol.



The next time you see these ume, they will be a yellowing-green and all shriveled up. Get excited.

4. Put lid on and wait.


And wait. And wait. And wait.


Umeshu is an incredibly easy preparation, but one that requires a shit ton of patience, as the liqueur will not be ready for months. Like anything great in life, the longer you hold out, the greater the reward. Right?? I am yet to learn this lesson, and honestly I prefer a young tequila to a Reposado, but I'm quite certain that our umeshu is just going to keep getting more pristine with age.

Sylvan is currently waiting on the aka-shiso (red perilla leaves) to come in, to continue our umeboshi project. Stay tuned for that next step.


  • Shit, I forgot to write about this year’s “real” umeshu i made. I found Japanese ume at grocery store, and made them. As Kayoko says, it is the easiest yummiest things to do. However, it sucks that we have to wait for 6 months and more…

    yamahomo on

  • what other fruit can be used

    winston on

  • I did some of this in ball jars, but even though I would have never thought it possible in vodka they seem to be fermenting. I caught it early, some deformed lids but no broken jars. Is it normal that this would make some gas while sitting? Have I done something wrong? I still have them in jars, but have loosened the lids so that the tiny bit of gas it’s making can escape.

    Tom on

  • thanks alot kayoko

    winston on

  • @winston: You can use any stone fruits, really. Biwa, or loquat liqueur is also common in Japan:

    You can get rock sugar at Japanese markets if there is one near you or here:

    Kayoko on

  • where can i get rock sugar

    winston on

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