I get back to Japanese flavors this week.
I talked Sake a number of times.
I just read about Umeshu, a Japanese plum (or rather apricot like) liquor consumed for a good 1000 years.
It is made with Ume or Prunus Mume described by Wikipedia as follows:
"Prunus mume, commonly known as ume (梅:うめ?) or Japanese apricot, or Chinese plum is a species of Asian plum in the family Rosaceae. The flower, long a beloved subject in the traditional painting of East Asia and Vietnam, is usually translated as plum blossom. The tree originated in China and was later brought to Korea, Vietnam, and Japan. The tree is cultivated for its fruit and flowers. Although generally referred to as a plum in English, it is actually more closely related to the apricot."
The largest producer Choya definitely states that ume are not plums.
They offer a number of suggestions as to how to serve it including chilled, pure as below.
As for the drink itself, Eat Japan gives us this short introduction:
"This liqueur is made from ume, an apricot-like fruit with a high concentration of citric acid. Ume are mixed with shochu and sugar and left to mature for between three months to one year. Ume’s healthy properties make umeshu popular not only as a delicious drink, but also as a medicine. Ume are rich in potassium, calcium and fruit acids, which aid digestion, break down lactic acid and are said to increase the body’s metabolic rate and reduce tiredness."
In LA, Delicious Coma made their own batch and describe the process in DIY umeshu (March 2009).
While living in Japan, Anjali of Delicious Coma had a weekly feature called japanese candy friday on her other site giant jeans parlor.
One week the theme was Squid Candy which I found intriguing enough to mention.
Exploring a world of flavors for Tokyo Thursdays # 152
(* umeshu picture from Choya Umeshu site)