Drink of the Week: Yugen Cuisine’s Sparkling Ume

Rob Galloway

In our Drink of the Week segment, we’ll showcase one unique type of beer, wine, cocktail — you name it — to try at one of the countless breweries, bars and restaurants from around the basin.

Yugen Cuisine’s Sparkling Ume is this week’s featured drink. <em id="emphasis-5e85770636bb82f0f86e705dbd641117">Rob Galloway / Tahoe Daily Tribune</em>

If you think about a great drink to pair sushi with, what is it that bubbles up to the surface? I’m certain everyone (at least all sushi lovers) has their preference, but the key to the pairing is that the drink has to stay light. The last thing you want is for the drink to get in the way of totally blowing your diet and adjusting the notches on your belt to fit in one more roll.

While sake has long been associated with sushi, this week’s drink is a bit of a twist on the old tradition. At its core, sake is a rice wine. Its tastes are fairly subtle and earthy, not like most of the grape wines that are the more popular kids in school. The sparkling ume is a plum wine – yes, a wine made with plums – and delivers a little sweeter and airier package over its sake counterpart.

As a slightly sweeter version of champagne, there is a nice balance of acid and sweetness, never giving you the bubbly overload that you sometimes get with champagne. It’s extremely drinkable, light and delicate — easily a great gateway drink to the world of sake.

The clean finish of the fruit also serves as a great palette cleanser in between bites. So for those of you that aren’t the biggest fan of taking down the ginger slices (or even if you are), here’s a tasty alternative.

The alcohol volume is moderate (only 5.5%), so it’ll keep the playfulness intact without sending you over the edge. And if the mood strikes you to order a few of these for take out and pair with a nice orange juice for a mimosa brunch, who am I to put that thought into your head. I bet it’s delicious.

Just like that, you have all been Inceptioned.

Yugen Cuisine is located at 1132 Ski Run Blvd. in South Lake Tahoe. For menu items, hours and more information visit them online at or by phone at 530-600-1838.

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