Sunday, June 28, 2009

Being an alcoholic...

Drinking must be one of the most famous Japanese culture.. They drink after work, they drink on weekends. Alcohol is sold in convenience stores, supermarkets and almost all of the restaurant.

Not being a big wine drinker myself, i never drank much back in melbourne except on special occasions. But with the vast variety of sweet flavoured alcoholic drinks here, i find myself drinking 2, 3 nights a week.

Ever since i discovered a drink called 'cashisu ', i have been addicted to it. And i refused to try anything new. But at dinner last friday, i tried a traditional japanese drink: green apricot wine'. Its sweet, and it has a fresh fruity smell.. Reminding me of spring... I drank an empty stomach, didn't know it was so strong i suddenly felt my whole body weaken.

The chef cooking behind the counter saw my reaction and started laughing. He said the apricot wine is actually 35% alcohol! No wonder my sudden reaction. He then told us that its very common for japanese families to make their own umeshu (apricot wine) at home in spring. The ingredients are all easily available at the supermarket, and the process is also very simple.

That got me all fired up.. I wanted to make my own umeshu!

When meeting up with friends for movies on sunday, i told them my idea. I asked my good friend aki to accompany me to the supermarket cause her japanese is super duper! She and Shannon has been the sweetest friends to me since i got here. They both me taught me so much... Thats for another blog i think.

So on monday when the guys went to work, me n aki went to the supermarket to get our ingredients.

To make umeshu you need the following ingredients:

1kg of green ume (unripe japanese apricot)

1kg of rock sugar

1.8litres of white liquor (vodka like alcohol)

1 large glass jar to store the wine

All of the ingredients were close together at the supermarket so it was hard to miss.

everything we bought here.

step 1: sanitise the glass jar with boiling hot water. This is to prevent any bacteria growing.

step 2: wash the ume and take out the branch on top. The black dot at the end.

step 3: dry the ume thoroughly (although i think we only roughly did it so I really hope it doesn't get mouldy.)

step 4: fill the bottom of the jar with one layer of apricot, enough so you don't see the glass bottom anymore.

step 5: fill the next layer with the same thickness of rock sugar.

step 6: fill with one more layer of ume, then rock sugar, the ume... And so on until you have finish all the ume and sugar.

step 7: pour in all of the white liquor.

step 8: cap the top and make sure its sealed tightly so no bacteria can get in.

and now we wait patiently for atleast 2 months before we can enjoy our very own umeshu!

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