It's seasonal, festive, versatile and oh-so-easy - I promise!
It seems absolutely surreal to be sitting here today, sipping hot tea and watching the snow fall outside when just three days ago it was 100 degrees out and I was picking plums, peaches and tomatoes from our local farm stand...
Anyways, I was blown away by the feedback we received on our social accounts with questions and requests for the recipe of this homemade plum liqueur that we make every year. I wanted to be sure I added it here on our blog for all of you to share!
A little backstory, small bottles of this were always on our shelves when I was growing up and my mother still brings them down for sipping with friends at parties, on holidays, or especially after indulgent dinners. My mother also has very vivid memories of these same bottles on her mother's shelf, and I am glad that making and sharing this recipe has become one of our little traditions that I plan to pass on as well.
With a little foresight, you can prep something now that will just sit and make magic for the next couple months and will be ready just in time for the holidays. The color is akin to liquid rubies and it is now one of my favorite hostess gifts to bring to parties. Yes, I know holiday parties will undoubtedly be very different this year, but little bottles of this boozy plum perfection can still be left on the doorsteps of those you cherish and hold dear - OR - save it all for yourself, I won't judge.
In its traditional state, this is a Polish aged cordial that I am confident has a recipe different to what I am sharing here. I can also say that traditionally you would use Damson Plums, and some may raise eyebrows that I do not use Damson Plums, but I can never seem to find Damsons here so I have had to adapt. Just let it go, that is why I say this recipe is versatile!
* 2 lbs late summer plums. You want to select plums that are not ready-to-eat meaning slightly underripe and unbruised.
* 8 Cups vodka. Please do not feel like you need to select quality vodka, I have had just as much luck with the kind in the plastic handles.
* 1-2 C sugar. There is a range here because I start with 1 cup and sample a month or two down the road to test for sweetness. You can always add sugar, but you cannot take it away and I have definitely made it too sweet before.
Note: There are many other variations we've made in the past. The recipe above is a base and will be perfect on its own, but please feel free to add cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, cardamom orange peel or lemon peel if you choose. And if you find the perfect addition and its not listed here - let us know!
1. Select and sterilize a large gallon mason jar.
2. Wash and remove any stems and leaves from the plums. Score the flesh of each plum a few times with a pairing knife, but do not cut so deep to expose the pit. If you choose, you may halve the plums and remove the pits completely. I never do, but you don't want the pits exposed directly to the alcohol because it will impact the flavor.
3. Add the plums to the clean jar. Pour over 1 - 1 1/2 C sugar and vodka.
4. Close the jar tightly and shake to mix and dissolve sugar. It's OK if the sugar doesn't dissolve right away, check every day or so and shake if needed. Once the sugar is dissolved, place on a high shelf somewhere that is cool and dark. This is where it will sit and do its thing.
5. Plan to let the jar sit for 3-4 months. The longer it sits, the more full-flavor it will be, but 3 months will do just fine. I would sample a spoonful as you approach month 3 just to see if you should tip a little more sugar in based on your taste.
6. when you are ready, strain the mixture out through a cheesecloth to ensure maximum color clarity. Then use a funnel to separate in to smaller bottles if you are sharing. If not, you may pour it right back in to your big jar and hide it away from the rest of the world. This will keep forever - kidding, maybe, but it will keep for a very long time. Just finish it before the next summer so you have clean jars to make it again.
Additional Note: If you desire, don't throw out those boozy plums and use them in a holiday cake or over ice cream - why not?
Lastly, I have every reason to believe this recipe would be just as good with other stone fruits like cherries or apricots, but have not had a chance to try it out. If you do - let us know!
Enjoy and I will be sure to update you all once I strain mine out so you can catch a glimpse of the final product.