How to make delicious Fruit Liquors: a tribute to Japanese Umeshu
There are a lot of wild plum and greengage trees near to my house and they all seemed to crop incredibly well this year, after starting a gallon of plum wine and making a lot of plum jam there were still thousands of fruits on the trees, the majority of which I knew would simply rot and go to waste on the floor. So I started looking into more ways to use the fruit harvest when someone mentioned that it would probably be pretty easy to make a drink like Umeshu… Well that turned out to be a great idea. The Japanese plum or ume (Prunus mume) is halfway to an apricot in flavour, so tastes slightly different to this recipe which used the fruit of a sweet, late-season red-skinned cultivar of Prunus domestica. But like with Umeshu I only used the still-firm unripe fruit. I think the similarities between the two flavours are close enough for this to be a very similar drink, and using wild plums fits much more into the whole gathering ethos than paying hefty import costs for something only slightly different to the fruit I can get for free.
This basic recipe can be used for any fruit liqueur, at the moment I am also making blackberry whisky using the same principle, and next summer I am going to be making batches using strawberries and currant fruits from the garden too. You simply need to steep fresh fruits with sugar in a hard alcohol of your choice for at least 3 months (and preferably around 6), to produce a delicious and versatile liquor.
– Recipe –
- Clean a tall jar with a tight fitting lid, the bigger the jar the more drink you can make.
- Wash the Fruit you are going to use, discarding any damaged or discoloured fruit.
- Pour the fruit into the jar until it roughly half fills the jar and then weigh the Fruit.
- Measure out half the weight of the fruit in Sugar, then pour both the Sugar and the Fruit into the jar.
- Pour your chosen alcohol in (Vodka is best for a clean fruit flavour) until the Fruit is covered completely by roughly an inch of alcohol, close the lid and shake well.
- Put this in a cool dark place for at least 3 months (and preferably around 6), shaking it every week or so.