A shortcut to autumn cocktails from Ed Smith
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.
100g caster sugar
750ml gin or vodka
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), sterilised mason 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 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.
Recipe: Ed Smith
Image: Kim Lightbody