Umeshu (Plum Wine) and Ume Syrup (Plum Syrup)!

I tweeted a few days ago that I was going to make Umeshu! Umeshu is a popular fruit liqueur in Japan, made from steeping unripe ume (Japanese plums) in shochu (a kind of distilled alcohol). Umeshu is very popular among women because it is sweet and mild!

(from google search)

I really love ume syrup for a refreshing drink in the summer!  I usually add 1/5 syrup and 4/5 carbonated water for a great alternative to soda.

Here is a video from youtube about how to make umeshu and ume syrup!  Cooking with dog is one of my favorite cooking channels on youtube!  It is a very stereotypical Japanese cooking show, like how everything is premeasured.

Making Umeshu or Ume syrup is pretty labor intensive, but I’ll include directions anyway!  Umeshu needs to age about 1 year, and ume syrup needs about 3 weeks.


1. Wash ume and sort.  Fruit with damaged skins should not be used for umeshu.
2. Use a bamboo skewer to take the stems out of the fruits.

See the bit of stem?
You can use a toothpick as well!

3. Dry so that no moisture remains on the skins.  The preferred method is to let them air dry.  You can also use a clean towel, but make sure the fruits are dry!

4. Wash and sterilize the containers and lids

How to make umeshu:
1. Layer fruits and rock sugar in the containers
2. Add shochu
3. Seal and label so that you know when you made it and how much ume/sugar/shochu you used!
4. Store in a cool dry place

How to make ume syrup:
1. Layer fruits and rock sugar in the containers
2. Add vinegar to prevent fermentation
3. Seal and label
4. For the first few days, shake well
5. Store in a cool dry place

The osmotic pressure will draw out the juices in the fruits.  Rock sugar is the most preferred type of sugar because it will dissolve slowly compared to regular sugar, but you can make this from anything like regular sugar or honey.

Here is how they look on Day 2!

The shochu has dissolved some of the sugar, but not all of it.
The fruits have started turning a brownish color.
As the umeshu ages, the liquor will also start turning a golden brown color.
Remember to shake the container well to make sure that the liquid is the same ratio of sugar, alcohol, and fruit extract all throughout!

Ume Syrup
Some liquid has started to collect in the bottom of the container!
This is the fruit extract!!
The fruits have started to turn brown, but not as quickly as the umeshu.
Remember to shake this container several times as well!

This is my first attempt at making either umeshu or ume syrup, so please wish me luck!

xoxo, K

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9 thoughts on “Umeshu (Plum Wine) and Ume Syrup (Plum Syrup)!”

  1. This was really interesting! Wishing you umeshu and ume syrup success. I’m looking forward to updates on these two items.

    As a side note, my son brought home umeshu from Aizu last summer. He said that his region is famous for umeshu. We didn’t get any since we don’t drink but my mom and Mai each got a bottle. I think that they enjoyed it a lot. All that I remember is that there was a HUGE ume in the bottle.


  2. oo thanks so much for sharing, this is so interesting! looks so yummy, my mouth is actually watering right now after seeing your pictures!! ahhhh

  3. I just had some Ume that my mom got for me, and i forgot to leave some! =P This is so interesting 🙂 make me wanna learn how to make them too 🙂

  4. Mmm, yummy! My Japanese friend just brought me back some to try last month and it was really delicious! I wish we had access to some here but that’s really cool you can make it at home as well. Best of luck to your homemade umeshu and ume syrup!

  5. This looks so interesting, it reminds me of the plum teas found in Taiwan.
    I am definitely no industrious enough to do this, but I would really like to taste umeshu and ume syrup because I love ume in general xD
    Good luck with your backyard moonshine!

  6. wonderful!!! i think thats how my mother in law makes it… only just the syrup i think to make lovely ume-drinks with it 😀

  7. DIY ume syrup and umeshu… It looks easy and so natural. Who knows’s what’s in store-bought umeshu eh? They always give me killer hangovers and I suspect they add a ton of chemicals.

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