Friday, January 7, 2011
As frequently referred to on Four Figs & a Duck, the bounty of the Weekend of the Plum seems to be truly never-ending. Exhibit D: plum-infused vodka.
Once Mr J got over the first shock that we weren't going to be beaten by other foragers to all those lovely free plums weighing down trees in our area (can you believe, we seemed to be the only ones picking them other than a lovely older gentleman we think goes to the local Greek Orthodox Church), we got busy picking what we could and making use of the fruit before we became heartily sick of plums. One of the uses I chose to put my excess bounty to was to infuse some windfall vodka a kind soul brought to my Halloween Party last year with the last of the plums.
This is a seriously easy way to make some delicious fruit liquor without having to go to all the effort of making wine mash, throwing in yeast and then distilling. Much, much easier ... and look how pretty it is! The pink of the plums really does diffuse through the vodka and give a rose-petal tint that is hard to beat.
It has a surprisingly delicate and drinkable taste - something to pour over ice and sip on a hot, summer afternoon. And the colour! A light rose colour that is so incredibly pretty. I had to restrain myself from throwing in about a thousand photos of the vodka, the light was so perfect. And then I started drinking it... yum. It's ever so slightly sweet, which smoothes out the hint of a somewhat cheapish vodka, but it's not too cloying. You can really taste the gentle waft of plum in there too. I think there may be some experimentation with cocktails ahead, but for now, here are a few more photos and then the "how to" guide. Cheers!
First, pick and wash your plums! The quantity you want really depends on the size of the jar you are going to use, but a rough guide is to use enough plums to fill up the jar about halfway. The more you pop in, the stronger the plum flavour will be.
Now pop about a half a cup of sugar into the bottom of the jar for every two cups of plums you use. I used about 1 cup all up. Caster sugar is better, but white sugar should be fine - it just might take a bit longer to dissolve. I am curious as to how this would taste with some raw caster sugar, or some brown sugar. Next year, perhaps!
Add your plums and then pour in the vodka. It took just shy of a full bottle to top up my jar, but really not as much as I had expected. I guess the plums displaced a lot of vodka, so the jar looks deceptively full. Now, use a long-handled spoon to stir and help the sugar dissolve. Don't worry if it doesn't all melt into the vodka, you are about to leave it alone in a dark pantry for a month - it will dissolve on its own in that time!
Don't forget to check in on it every so often and stir or shake (my jar wasn't too water-tight, so shaking was definitely out). After about a month, open it up and have a taste-test. If you like it, decant it into a bottle. I'm not exactly sure what I am going to do with all those lovely vodka-soaked plums, but I'm sure I will think of something!
I the meantime, I intend to drink the vodka poured over ice into small tumblers. You could also use it in cocktails or, personally my favourite idea, turn it into a plum granita or use it in a trifle or mascarpone, which is what I do with the cherry brandy I make in precisely the same way every Christmas. But that is a topic for another post...
Now, back to my plum vodka on ice. Enjoy!