I am lucky to have many wonderful friends in my life, some food lovers, some not (it isn’t friendship criteria but if you don’t appreciate/ love good food I will probably try and convert you). However it must be said that my friend Holly is easily be one of the biggest food lovers I know. I love Holly time, we’ll chat about all sorts of stuff but there will always be some pretty geeky food chat going on. The last time I saw her she had a log of Norwegian butter in her bag, that she had brought me all the way back from Norway, and a bag of frozen wild plums from a foraging trip to Kent. The time before that she brought me a tray of homemade coconut ice cream with rippled tamarind caramel. Seriously… it’s like crack.
So, the Norwegian butter I have eaten simply on fresh bread and it is wonderful, but the plums, well there was only one thing for it. Pre-weighed into 400g batches and frozen (this girl doesn’t mess about), it had to be booze. I love flavouring alcohol, and always have a few bottles on the go at any given time. Sloe gin, bergamot gin, limoncello, kumquat brandy… It is easy to do, tasty as hell and they make great gifts (we made a load for our wedding favours). For some reason I have never used plums or damsons before so was excited to add a new bottle to our collection. Now the obvious pairing for these autumnal treats is gin, and by all means use that! However it is not a joke when they call gin ‘mothers ruin’ so for now I am staying clear. I used good quality organic vodka instead, I just have to wait another month till I can try it…
WILD PLUM LIQUEUR
- 400g wild plums or damsons, washed and frozen
- 125g golden caster sugar
- 750cl good quality vodka or gin
You will need a 1L kilner jar, as the plums won’t fit in a bottle.
This recipe could not be more simple. Just layer up the plums with the sugar in the large clean kilner jar and then pour over your chosen alcohol. Seal tightly and give it a shake.
Store the jar in a dark spot, away from sunlight, and give it a little shake every day for a week till the sugar dissolves. Leave the jar well alone for 2 – 3 months, only disturbing it to give it a little taste after a month to see if it needs more sugar. Check the sweetness, adding another spoonful or so of sugar if it still feels a little tart. Then seal back down, give it a shake and return to your dark spot.
You can strain it after a few months, but if you can wait a little longer I would leave it. The more patient you are the tastier the booze.
If you want to add a little extra flavour to your liqueur, try popping in a split vanilla pod, or a few bay leaves. You could also make it a spiced plum liqueur for christmas, just add a cinnamon stick, a few cloves, a couple of cardamom pods and a few peppercorns half way through steeping. You don’t want them to overpower the plum flavour, just add a lovely wintery warmth.
Finished booze shot to come…