The plums at the bottom
On my last night at home, I invited all my friends over for a Japanese meal: Sukiyaki. Eating from the same pot can really bring people together. I only wish we could have made it on the table as is conventionally done, but my parents don’t have a strong enough hot plate and we can’t uninstall a burner from the stove, so I made it… alone. Thanks to my mother’s creativity, we did, however, bring the pots to the table and were table to keep them warm on fondue burners. The result was hot sukiyaki all the way until we poured the last drops of liquid out of the pots.
One of my close friends, who attended the dinner, has recently entered the field of bartending. We visited her bar the night before, and after finding out she had never had any, I promised her we would have umeshu at my dinner. What is umeshu? A somewhat sweet, but full-bodied plum wine. I like it best mixed with soda water and a few ice cubes in a highball glass. The best ratio heavily favors the umeshu over the soda water.
So, while I sadly still know little about sake, I can point you to a very good umeshu that can be found at your local grocery store in the US, namely Choya Umeshu. It comes in a straight-sided bottle and has the alcohol-soaked green plums in the bottom, which are the biggest treat. Eating the plums is the greatest reward for having finished the bottle.