I don’t often get to actually attend the weddings we create, but this past weekend, I attended a friend’s wedding at Iolani Palace. One of the cool little features about this wedding was the favor, placed at each guest’s setting. It was a small green bottle that looked almost like essential oils. But it wasn’t. It was a shot of Umeshu, a liqueur with a whole ume fruit inside.


    As part of the formal program, two friends of the bride and groom offered up a traditional Japanese toast, the Banzai, and each guest was instructed to open their bottle of Umeshu for the toast. I thought that was a really clever way to incorporate the favor and make it more meaningful than a token gift to be taken home. It also made the toast (or Banzai, or Kampai, or Mabuhai, or whatever you choose) a bit extra special.

    … it also makes the logistics of the toast MUCH easier than say, a champagne toast, because you already know the drink it on the table and ready to go.

    Plus the drink was pretty tasty! Only about 10-15% alcohol content made it smooth, and if you’re used to the sweet-salty flavor of li hing mui, it’s great! But be careful if you bite into the ume thinking it would be a great chaser… it’s MUCH more bitter and reeks of straight alcohol. Ugh! Oh well, live and learn.