Umeshu is a traditional Japanese liqueur made from the stone fruit, ume (Prunus mume). The ume tree is referred to as a Chinese plum or Japanese apricot in English, and is known also for its spectacular display of springtime flowers. It is a distinct species, however, more closely related to the apricot than the plum.
Umeshu is made from green, unripe whole fruit with the stone still inside. Total acid levels can be two to four times those found in plums. The fruit is steeped in alcohol (shochu) and sugar, releasing polyphenols (antioxidants) from the skins and flesh, acids, plus flavor and aroma compounds.
This results in a sweet and sour drink with an alcohol content of 10 to 15 percent by volume. Some brands are available with whole fruit in the bottle.
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