Monday, June 14, 2010

Brandy Umeshu

Last June, we tried making brandy-based umeshu. This weekend, almost exactly one year later, we tried it for the first time.

Delicious. Smooth and thick with a tart undertone. As you take a sip, you get a small, happy explosion of flavour hitting your nose and mouth. Then you get a raspy dark finish running down your throat. It's best taken neat. I did try to cut it with soda - it works well with normal umeshu - but that kills the thick, heady flavour. Waste of an excellent drink. I've yet to try it with ice and a splash of lemon.

So yesterday we started another jar of brandy umeshu. We'll probably make one jar of rum-based umeshu too, with more sugar than our previous attempt, and let it sit for a whole year this time. I keep thinking it would be interesting to try making umeshu on whisky base, but Ritsuko isn't convinced to say the least. Perhaps I can convince her to let me make a small bottle, just as an experiment.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Janne,

hello. Happened to stumble across your blog, specifically this post on brandy umeshu, and I've got a question to ask you since I just started a batch on Sunday - I used brandy and honey, but I already have a few ume floating in my jar, and there's this weird brown substance settling down at the bottom. Do you have any idea as to what that might be? I thought it was the honey at first, but this looks rather powdery (well, as powdery as something suspended in liquid can be).

Thank you very much!


Regards,
Kevin

Janne Morén said...

Hi,

That hasn't happened to any of our umeshu batches. The ume is not supposed to float, and there's no residue after two years or more. It is important that the ume are undamaged; did you check each one before adding them? Damaged ume would be my guess, with the exposed ume starting to ferment (creating carbodioxide in the ume that makes it float) and the residue being bits of ume flesh leaking out from the damaged fruit.

Not sure what to do about it, but if I were you I'd check the floating ume for any cuts and abrasions. If they're there I'd pick out the ume and throw away the damaged ones, then filter the liquid through a fine sieve (thin kitchen cloth or something like that). As you used honey there's nothing solid in there that you want to keep. Pour it back into the jar and put back the undamaged fruit. That should be fine.

Anonymous said...

Janne,

thanks for the advice. I looked through the ume and removed the stems before washing and soaking them overnight - I might have poked holes in a few of them accidentally, though I don't remember seeing any cuts on the fruit as I was preparing them.

There's a lot of that residue, though, which makes me think it might not be damaged fruit. Still, I'll filter it and see if I can identify the substance. Thank you very much!


Regards,
Kevin