Plum gin (or vodka)

Last year I wrote a set of autumnal recipes for Borough Market’s October-ish edition of Market Life magazine: pork and plum meatballs; lightly spiced monkfish and clams; AYO (assemble your own) toffee apple millefeuille, plum gin (or vodka) …

As it happens, these were among the dishes, words and instructions I was ultimately shortlisted for ‘Best Cookery Writer’ at Fortnum and Mason’s Food and Drink Awards, so they must be okay.

Anyway, I mention that here not by way of humble brag, more that Borough recently published the booze idea online which means I can too. Also, British plum season will be over before you know it and I want you to make the most of them before they’re gone.

Plum gin (or vodka)

If you can’t get hold of sloes or damsons, dessert plums are equally pleasing to infuse into gin or vodka. The process is also quicker with the sweeter, softer plums, so autumnal-flavoured gin or vodka based cocktails are just around the corner.

  • 750ml gin or vodka
  • 600g ripe plums
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 x sterilised 2 litre mason jar

Wash the plums and remove any stalks. Prick all over each fruit with a clean pin or fork, then halve the fruits but leave the stones in. Place these in a large (2 litre) jar, add the sugar and pour the gin over the top. Ensure all the fruits are submerged, otherwise they will spoil. Keep the gin bottle.

Store in a cool dark place for at least 2-3 weeks, turning occasionally to help the sugar dissolve. The alcohol will have taken on a good amount of flavour already, though you could leave it longer if you wish. Decant the gin back into the bottle – you may want to strain the liqueur through muslin or a fine sieve, and consider adding more sugar if you think it should be sweeter.

Use 30-50ml as the base of a plum-flavoured gin or vodka tonic.

And don’t discard the boozy plums — it’s not unheard of to use make jams, compotes to flavour ice cream, in fruit pies, crumbles and cakes, or (sliced thinly) as an embellishment for your plum cocktails.