Mojitos always seem to hit the spot when it comes to lounging poolside on a hot summer day. Throughout the years, I’ve tried several variations on the classic: strawberry, raspberry, orange, you name it.
But my new favorite riff on this cocktail stars a fruit you may not have heard of before: ume. Also known as Japanese plum or apricot, ume comes from the prunus mume deciduous tree that is native to east and southeast Asia. You can find the ripest and plumpest plums during the peak of its season, which falls between June and July. However, in the United States, you can buy the salted and pickled version of the fruit (umeboshi) at Japanese grocery stores all year round.
Through the pickling process, the ripe fruit is transformed into a fermented, salty, and tangy treat that makes you pucker with every bite. To balance the sweetness of the mojito, I muddled the mint with umeboshi—it adds umami and salinity for a more complex yet equally satisfying drink. To bring those flavors even further to the forefront, I included umeshu (a Japanese liqueur made with ume) and sake, along with the traditional white rum. The result is a mojito that’s sweet and tangy, with just a touch of saltiness—ready for summer sipping. —Maki Yazawa
Test Kitchen Notes
This recipe is shared in partnership with LG STUDIO. —The Editors