Introducing Choya Japanese Fruit Liqueur – a range of delicious umeshu drinks that can be enjoyed hot or cold
Choya, founded by the Kondo family in 1914, and is now the 7th largest liqueur producer in the world.
In 1959 the company started production of umeshu, which at that time was produced individually by each family. Today Choya is responsible for the development of umeshu into a commercially viable product. It is a brand with countrywide recognition, available across the whole of Japan, and exported to over 60 countries worldwide.
Choya Umeshu is a vegan-friendly, 100% natural, premium, Japanese fruit liqueur made in a similar way to gin, using only the highest quality fruit. The combination of umeshu liquid, extracted from the ume fruit, sugar, and alcohol results in a light, fruity flavour, that is both sweet and tart with notes of almond.
Choya uses only a few varieties of the Japanese ume (often confused with a plum but in fact much closer to an apricot) from the several hundred varieties available. Nanko-ume from Wakayama is a premium variety with plump flesh and high acidity which makes it particularly suitable for umeshu production.
Making umeshu takes at least six months before the final product is ready for consumption. Experts recommend ageing past nine months for optimal flavour and Choya Umeshu is aged for a minimum of twelve months. The final product will have moderate acidity and a faint aroma from the fruit. The sugar and ageing from the alcohol provides a pleasant sweetness sometimes compared to almonds or marzipan.
Umeshu can be enjoyed hot or cold, as an aperitif, with a meal, as a digestif and also as a cocktail; a truly versatile liqueur. Choya have a number of products in their range, from the more traditional umeshu to expressions unique to Choya and we have included some of these in the fact sheet attached.
Tasting pack expressions
All of the Choya expressions can be enjoyed as hot or cold drinks. We have included three cold serves below but if you would like to enjoy Choya Umemshu as a hot drink just add boiling hot water to 60 ml of Choya.
Choya Extra Years Aged Umeshu – a premium Umeshu made with the finest grade Nanko-ume fruit, harvested in the Wakayama region of Japan. This fruit liqueur is well balanced, sweet and slightly viscous.
Perfect Serve – Choya Extra Years Martini
65ml Choya Umeshu Extra Years | 10ml Dry Vermouth | Dash of Fresh Lemon Juice
Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker with plenty of cubed ice. Shake well and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with strips of shredded lemongrass.
Choya Royal Honey Umeshu – Choya Umemshu Extra Years can be made with Royal Honey which imparts additional sweetness and a darker vanilla colour which is completely natural. It is perfect enjoyed on the rocks or with soda to release the honey flavour.
Perfect Serve – Choya Royal Honey with Soda
1 part Choya Royal Honey | 2 parts soda
Pour the Choya Royal Honey into a highball glass, top up with soda
Choya Extra Shiso Umeshu – Choya Extra Shiso Umeshu – made with 100% Japanese premium Nanko Ume from a famous region called Kishu. The Japanese Red Shiso leaves provide an exceptional bitter, herbaceous taste to contrast the initial sweetness with notes of marzipan and almond. The Extra Shisho is aged for 2 to 3 years to provide the best possible taste from the Ume fruit.
Perfect Serve – Choya Extra Shiso Fizz
60 ml Choya Extra Shiso | Champagne
Pour the Choya Extra Shiso in a champagne flute and top up with champagne