Welcome! May I get you something to drink?

Welcome friends! I am so glad to have you here. Make yourself comfortable. Fittingly, I am opening my blog with an aperitif recipe to whet the appetite for the feast to come. Having an aperitif, weather mixed or simply a splash of cold vermouth while prepping dinner, has become a welcome addition to my cooking life. Over the years I have become a fairly feeble drinker, but I love the smells, tastes and relaxing ritual of having a little something while cooking my family meal. After a busy day, sometimes my appetite hasn't caught up to me yet, and slowing down with a small appetite stimulating mini cocktail is perfect.

With this recipe I will share one of my favorite flavors in the world; Ume. Ume itself is a small Japanese plum that is used in various ways, the most commonly known being Umeboshi and Umeshu. Umeboshi are the salted, preserved plums often referred to as pickled plums. Umeshu is a unique liqueur made from steeping the unripe fruits in sugar and alcohol. It's so very good, sour and sweet with great depth. Try to buy a bottle with the fruit in if you can, they make a delicious edible garnish. Here I pair the sweet-sour flavor of Umeshu with fresh grapefruit and earthy sage for an intensely flavored cocktail that will no doubt wake up your appetite.

Umeshu aperitif

The ingredients are so simple and the technique as well. All you will need is a tool to bruise some sage and a small strainer. Crushing the sage in a mortar works well, but you can also simply bruise the sage in a small bowl with the back of a spoon and then pour the Umeshu over the sage to blend the flavors.

Umeshu aperitif finished


Umeshu with Grapefruit and Sage


  • 2 sage leaves, washed
  • 2 oz. Umeshu, preferably cold
  • 1 tbsp. grapefruit juice (I used pink)
  • Ice

Bruise one sage leaf in a mortar or a bowl and add the Umeshu and grapefruit juice to combine the flavors. Strain this mixture with a fine mesh strainer into your serving glass with two or three ice cubes or crushed ice as desired. Garnish with a slice of grapefruit or zest and one sage leaf. Cheers! Yield: One cocktail