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Umeshu, Japanese plum wine, made with a airtight jar

Japanese Plum Wine

Sweet, tangy and refreshing - Japanese plum wine (umeshu) is delicious and super easy to make at home! Make Japan’s famous plum wine just like we do in Japan! Ready in 20 minutes!
Author: Akiko @ MIKLIA
Prep Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 20 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Japanese
5 from 3 votes
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Servings: 1 container


  • 1 kg ume plum (1.2lb)
  • 800 g rock sugar* (1.76lb)
  • 1.8 l White Liquor* (60oz)


Clean the air tight glass jar

  • The airtight glass jar needs to be completely cleaned with a clean kitchen cloth, detergent and warm water. Wash it with warm water to make sure all of the detergent is removed. Air dry the jar. Then spray alcohol around the inside of the lid and the jar. I use the White Liquor - see the note. Or soak a cotton cloth with alcohol, and wipe it around the lid and the inside of the jar.

Clean the plums

  • Use water, clean plums and dry them with kitchen paper. Then carefully remove the stem ends with a tooth pick. Leave the skin on.
  • Use a clean kitchen cotton cloth and dry each plum carefully on the surface with some affection (this my mother’s tip for extra-delicious umeshu!)

Place the ingredients

  • Make the layer of the ingredients in the clean jar. This is the fun part in making homemade plum wine. Place plum fruit first on the bottom of the glass jar. Next layer rock sugar. Repeat this next two times. Then gradually pour in White Liquor or your favorite liquor. Put the lid on tight. It's ready after 6 months.
    That's it! Store it in a dark, cool place for 6 months!

Recipe Notes:

How to find plum
Use unripe and fresh Japanese green plums which are available in Japanese or Korean grocery shops in May or very early June. Avoid plums which have lots of scratches. The unripe plums need to be processed and fermented with natural chemical effect in the large glass jar, and are not edible raw.
White Liquor
I use the brand called White Liquor from Takara, a leading beverage producer in Japan, which contains 35% alcohol. It is the brand people use for homemade fruit making in Japan. It's now widely available outside Japan. You can find it at Japanese grocery store or online. Vodka will work although I have not tried it yet. 
Rock Sugar
Unfortunately granulated sugar or raw sugar cannot be replaced to rock sugar. Plum fruit component is dissolved into alcohol slowly. Sugar needs to dissolve slowly for this reason, and rock sugar does too. Rock sugar is easily available at Japanese or Asian grocery shops or online.  
Keyword: japanese plum wine
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