Umeshu, or plum wine, is another little slice of happiness from Japan that I will keep in my heart.
I'm not much of a drinker - wine, except for rosé, gives me migraines, I can't take strong alcohol, I don't like beer. My beloved travelling companion tried sake, and found it to his taste. We discovered that there is a lot of variety in sake - a lot of restaurants offer taster menus, with three or five different types of sake, and we were surprised at how different they tasted. But a sip would be all I'd drink. Before we travelled, someone had recommended I try umeshu. I've always liked umeboshi vinegar, so I was looking forward to trying this.
I now can say I have a favourite drink! It's not too strong, but it's got a sharp taste. I drank it on the rocks. A sushi restaurant owner recommended I drink it with soda, as she felt it's too strong, but that diluted the taste a bit too much for me. I've found out that ume plums (not really plums actually, but from the same family of fruit, more or less) have a lot of medicinal properties, and were given to soldiers before going to battle in the time of the samurai. "Ume gives you wings!" might have been the slogan at the time. Now, I will have to try Asia Market to see if they sell it! They have something called umeshu plum sake? Is that the same thing I wonder? Only one way to find out!!