June 26, 2009

Japanify: How to Make Biwashu (Loquat Liqueur)

by yoko


After making my umeshu and bottling it up for indulgence in October, I became restless. I wanted to make more while I waited for three months. But this time I wanted to try another fruit. After discussing it over with a veteran Japanese fruit liqueur-maker (my ex-coworker), she suggested I try biwashu (“biwa” is a fruit and “shu” is the word for liquor in Japanese). You might remember biwa from Kayoko’s post last month.

One of the pros of making biwashu is that it only takes one month to mature. Therefore, by the time I am looking out my window watching the neighborhood kids burning their fireworks for obon festivities in August, I’ll be sipping on some ice-cold biwashu on the rocks.

The ingredients are simple:

6 large biwa
750ml liquor (white liquor, vodka or rum)
50 grams of rock sugar


When choosing your biwa, make sure they don’t have many imperfections where dirt can hide. The Japanese are anal about their fruit and package them like jewels. This pack of 6 biwa cost me 500 yen ($5).


As mentioned above, you can get creative with your liquor. I used white liquor, but you can substitute with vodka or rum. I actually wanted to try rum, but my local supermarket did not have any.

Although rock sugar is preferred, you can used regular granulated sugar as well.


Wash the container that you will put the liquor in. Clean the biwa by soaking them in water for 5 minutes. Dry them with a paper towel.


Add the biwa and rock sugar into the container.


Add liquor.


Seal the container and wait for one month. Fruit liqueurs taste better the longer you let them sit, so ideally this should be stored for six months. I know I won’t be that patient though.



  • kayoko
    Posted June 26, 2009 at 9:10 am

    Super excited to see how this turns out!!!

  • ila
    Posted June 30, 2009 at 10:18 am

    great how-to! it's our early summer tradition to make fruit wines too.
    i made my biwa-shu with loquat seeds :) hoping that it'll taste like annin!

  • Bbq Dude
    Posted July 7, 2009 at 6:42 am

    We have a loquat tree in our backyard, which produces more loquats than we know what to do with. Next spring we'll try making this, it looks like good fun.

  • yoko
    Posted July 7, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    BBQ Dude: That's wonderful! I am really envious that you have a loquat tree. Happy drinking.

One Trackback

  • By Happy Hour: Kumquat Liqeuer - Umami Mart on May 8, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    […] a lot of variations of liqueurs on Umami Mart. There was Yoko’s umeshu (plum liqueur) and biwashu (loquat liqueur), and I’ve personally made both of these liqueurs along with a yuzu […]

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