Plum Sparkler

Plums are ripe and abundant on neighborhood trees.  While 2020 has been a tumultuous year, it’s been fabulous for plums.  Something about the weather here in California has graced the plum trees with amazing fecundity.  A friend has a bumper crop of Santa Rosa plums and gifted me with a crate of ripe fruit.  This tangy, cerise sparkling cocktail is the result.

Plum Sparkler
Plum Sparkler, with lemon

The base liqueur is a simple mixture of fresh, ripe Santa Rosa plums, grain liquor, sugar, cardamom and black pepper.  The tart skin suffuses the liquid with rich color which makes for a beautiful drink.  This recipe will work with any tart skinned plum.

Plums and spices in glass jar, ready for sugar and grain alcohol

I let the plum mixture rest in the fridge for a couple days, strain and store. It’s super easy to craft a cocktail with this plum base on hand.  It’ll last for several weeks to a month if kept cold — ready for a cooling, low-alcohol refresher on a summer day. Enjoy!

Plum Sparkler
(serves one)

2 oz Plum Sparkler base
4 oz sparkling water
lemon wedge
ice cube

Place ice in a chilled highball glass. Add 2 oz Plum Sparkler base and 4 oz sparkling soda.  Squeeze in some fresh lemon, garnish with a couple edible petals, and enjoy.

Plum Sparkler base
(makes about 3 cups)

10 – 12 fresh, ripe plums
about 1 1/2 cups 120 proof grain liquor (Everclear is the brand I use)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Rinse and score the plums by cutting into quarters, leaving the flesh intact on the pit.  Pack them lightly into a clean one quart glass canning jar.  The size of your plums will determine how many can fit in the glass jar.  Allow room for the sugar and alcohol. Add the sugar, cardamom and black pepper.  Pour on the grain liquor, filling to the top of the jar.  Screw on the lid, give the jar a gentle swirl, and place on the counter for several hours.  This will allow the sugar to dissolve into the liquid.  Store in the fridge for at least two days, allowing the plums to release much of their juice and the skins to suffuse the liquid with color.  Strain the mixture, and store in a clean glass jar until ready to use.


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