Curious about what to do with all the plums on your plum tree, or are all the plump, purple, and yellow plums at the store inviting you into the unknown? Well, there's a very easy fix to that - homemade plum liqueur! This plum liqueur recipe is so easy, and so delicious you'd wish you had more plums.
I'm letting you in on a little secret - make this liqueur now so that it's ready for Halloween. Why, you ask? The answer lies in a new Halloween recipe I'll be sharing this year. Because this plum liqueur takes a while to become its best version, I'm telling you now.
Oh, and plums are in season. There's that too.
Why you'll love this recipe
Plum liqueur is vastly underrated. And not to be confused with raki (grapes) or Slivowitz (plums), and are stronger brandies. Plum liqueur is sweet, and fresh and actually tastes of other things than just hitting you in the face with alcohol.
Therefore, it is a liqueur you can enjoy on its own, but also a perfect liqueur for cocktails like my Sugar Plum Fairy cocktail. And also such a pretty edible Christmas gift for foodies!
If you like sweet and fruity, i.e. the flavor of plums and sugar - I think you'll love this recipe.
It's also a great way to preserve the best of what late summer has to offer. The color gets muted over time. But it basically lasts until the next time your plums are in season.
There are three main ingredients for a homemade liqueur.
- Fruit - in this case, plums. Ripe plums provide a sweet and sour freshness to the liqueur.
- Sugar - helps elevate the flavor and it is a great preservation method. A fantastic win-win.
- Alcohol - any pure spirit is perfect for liqueurs. Here I like to use either rum or vodka. Vodka is neutral, so it's usually the first option to go for. But whiskey is a nice touch that also works well with plums!
Those are the basics, but you can also add vanilla beans, ginger slices, etc. You can also make the famous limoncello with the three basics.
For this particular plum liqueur, I'm keeping the plums the star of the show but I'm providing some ideas for you under the section Expert tips.
Start by adding sliced plums to a clean glass jar with a tight lid. Cover the plums with sugar, then pour vodka over until it covers all the plums. Do this in two turns, so that it will be two layers of plums, two of sugar, and two of vodka.
Make sure you completely fill the glass jar.
Cover with the lid and store in a cool and dark place. Shake it every day for a week, then a couple of times a week for 2-3 months. It will take some time for all the sugar to dissolve. You may need to stir the sugar into the juices after a week if it has stuck to the bottom even though you shake it.
Strain into pretty bottles. The flavor will continue to develop, it’s even better at 6-9 months. The color can get paler over time, but it's still delicious. Store in a cool and dark place.
Liqueur is best stored in a cool and dark place. I keep mine in the basement in a pantry.
Even though the color diminishes after a while, it's still a good drink, so don't worry about that. It takes about a year for the color to start to mute. Perfect timing to make another batch, don't you think?
What is the base alcohol for liqueurs?
The most common and most versatile base alcohol is vodka. This is because it is flavorless - or rather neutral in taste - and other ingredients can shine instead.
But you can also use
- Brandy or cognac
It all depends on what you like or what you have on hand. But make sure you don't use wine, cider, or beer, those are not a spirit or distilled alcohol - which is needed to make a liqueur.
What is the plum liqueur from Eastern Europe?
You are thinking of Slivovitz. It is a fruit brandy made from damson plums. Read more about Slivovitz here.
It is quite different from this homemade plum liqueur. It is a brandy and not a sweet liqueur as we are making here. Which also explains the different levels of alcohol in the two.
How strong is plum liqueur?
Depends on whether you are holding a Slivovitz or you are making this recipe. Slivovitz's range is 40-70% alcohol by volume (ABV), or in other words 80–140° proof.
Homemade sweet liqueurs like this plum liqueur, are more roughly around 25% ABV or 50 proof. The calculation will depend on how much juice is extracted from the plums and how much sugar you end up using.
As you may have guessed. This is a recipe that is great to switch up to pretty much any fruit, any sweetener, and any distilled spirit.
Here are some ideas to get your juices flowing:
- Plums, ginger, and mandarin or clementine zest. Sugar and vodka as in this recipe.
- Plums, sliced open vanilla bean, maple syrup, and whiskey.
- Plums, orange zest, cinnamon sticks, whole star anise, honey, rum or whiskey.
I've also got a million ideas for other fruits, but I'm keeping that for other blog posts! In the meantime, enjoy my blogger friends' beautiful cranberry liqueur and kumquat liqueurs - and don't forget my limoncello! Scroll below to find a printable recipe card.
Did you like this recipe? Here are more recipes I think you’d love:
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