Plum Brandy

Make spirits bright with this homemade Plum Brandy recipe. It makes a lovely holiday spirit for gifting or drinking. Infuse your own with fresh plums or dried prunes. 

Infused plum brandy, served neat

Homemade Plum Brandy recipe

I am almost done with holiday shopping, then I have a few things left to make. Homemade gifts are the absolute best. Especially when they are drinkable, too! 

Don’t you remember this homemade cinnamon whiskey? Or this homemade coffee liqueur? Both of them make for fantastic holiday gifts.

You could even add a jar homemade cocktail cherries to the list for someone who loves their manhattans and old-fashioneds.

This year I am also giving out Plum Brandy in addition to DIY airplane cocktail kits and a booze advent calendar.

Plum brandy is the quintessential holiday drink you should make — at the very least for yourself!

Why you’ll love this recipe

This recipe is so wonderful. Here’s why I think you’re going to love it!

  • Plum brandy only requires a few minutes of prep time to put together.
  • You can use it in cocktail recipes, enjoy it on the rocks or sip it neat.
  • It makes a lovely holiday gift for a cocktail lover.
Infused plum brandy, ready to serve

Why make homemade liqueurs?

The best part of homemade liqueurs and infusions is that they don’t take that long to prepare. And the cost of alcohol aside, they really don’t cost that much. 

This year to save time and money, I am planning to get a grocery delivery with ingredients for my homemade Irish cream liqueur. For my South African family, I will make some Cape Velvet Cream liqueur.

This way I can knock out a few lingering gifts on my list in under an hour. 

Homemade liqueurs are one of my favorite things and it seems to taste extra good when you are sharing it with friends and family at the holidays. 

Plum brandy neat in a glass

What is plum brandy? 

This is a fruity brandy recipe , but there are a few different definitions.

One of them is slivovitz, a clear, distilled spirit made from fermented plums enjoyed all over Eastern Europe.

It has different methods of production depending on the country. And different spellings too, including slivovitza, slivovitsa, șliboviță, šljivovica, śliwowica, Schlivowitz, slivovice, slivovica or slivovk.

My husband and I tried it on our honeymoon in Eastern Europe, and boy, is it good. 

We tried it in Hungary, where it is also a type of a pálinka. But, like champagne or mezcal, to be called a pálinka it must be made in Hungary from fresh fruits. 

To make slivovitz, fresh plums and ground plum pits are crushed and pressed together, (sometimes with yeast, starch, and sugar) then it’s fermented and sometimes distilled. 

Slivovitz seems to vary from country to country, both in production and in the name, but it’s something I am glad we found and tried because I’m obsessed!

The other definition is the recipe you see here — a traditional brandy that’s been infused with fresh or dried plums (AKA prunes).

a christmas sugar plum sidecar with fresh rosemary on a white background

Ingredients

You only need two ingredients to make plum brandy.

Brandy

Brandy is a fruit-based spirit that is made by fermenting fruit juices or wine. It is typically enjoyed as an after-dinner digestif, but it can be enjoyed in cocktails as well, such as the brandy alexander and the sidecar.

Cognac is a specific type of brandy that is made from distilled white wine. Smoother and more complex, the French say it’s made from l’eau de vie AKA “the water of life.” As such, it’s a protected type of brandy and must follow certain requirements to bear the name “cognac” on the label.

Brandy has different designations for the age of the brandy used in the bottle. V.S. (which means “very special”) and V.S.O.P. (which means “very superior old pale”) are aged for two and four years respectively, and both are good choices for cocktail mixing. Any older and the price tag goes up.

My advice is always to use the best brandy you can afford. In fact, that’s my go-to advice for any cocktail! However, you might want to save the really expensive stuff to sip on in a brandy snifter for an intense after-dinner conversation.

Plums

Prunes, which are dried plums, work really well in this recipe. They are available year-round and still have lots of flavor. Prunes are made from certain plum varieties that are grown with the intent to be dried them rather than to be consumed as fresh fruit.

Fresh plums, when in season, would work just as well as dried prunes. Fresh plums can be red or black and, depending on which you use, might alter the color of the finished brandy — but it will be tasty either way.

If using fresh plums, be sure to wash and dry them well before preparing them. Halve them or quarter them before adding the brandy.

Plum brandy in a bottle

How to make plum brandy

Unlike slivovitz which is fermented with prunes from the start, this recipe is an infusion made with already distilled brandy and prunes. 

You’ll need to combine the fruit with brandy and let it sit. I use round bottles like these to store mine.

Then, it sits for a month or two. The brandy will soak up the plum flavor. When it’s ready to drink, you can strain out the plums with a fine-mesh sieve or a few pieces of cheesecloth.

whole spices on a blue towel

Variations

If you want to mix things up, try one of these ideas:

Add spices. Add a cinnamon stick, some fresh minced ginger root or a piece of star anise to the infusion to add some spiced flavor into the mix.

Add citrus. Place a piece of lemon or orange peel or lemon peel in the infusion. Make sure not to get too much of the white pith or your brandy will taste bitter. Instead, you could add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or orange juice to the finished plum brandy.

Sweeten it. Once the infusion is complete, sweeten it with simple syrup, to taste, for a sweeter mixture.

Flavor it. Stir in vanilla extract ½ teaspoon at a time, to taste, once you’ve strained out the prunes. (You can also add a vanilla bean into the infusion at the beginning for a similar flavor.)

Plum brandy neat in a glass

How long to infuse plum brandy

The more time you let it infuse, the better your plum brandy will taste. 

I recommend about one month, but it will start to sweeten up after just a few days. Store it in a cool dark place.

Three months is the longest I would suggest, but you do you! 

You can enjoy the brandy while the plums are still in, or you are free to strain them out so you don’t have chunks or seeds in your brandy.

Tips for success

Brandy is a clear, brown liquid and when it infuses with dark prunes, it gets even darker, almost black.

One of the commenters has tried this recipe a few times and has a few suggestions:

  • Use more prunes and infuse for less time.
  • Strain through several layers of cheesecloth several times after it infuses for a while. 
  • Add a touch of citrus with about 3 one-inch square pieces of lemon peel and add a stick of cinnamon to it while it infuses.
a sugar plum cocktail with plum brandy on a white background

How to drink plum brandy

You can use plum brandy in classic recipes like sidecars or to substitute bourbon in something like this simple bourbon ginger ale cocktail or a hot toddy.

I made this sugar plum sidecar inspired by The Nutcracker with this very plum brandy for the holidays — it’s so tasty and gets a garnish of pretty sugared cranberries.

You could also make a French Mule with plum brandy instead of vodka, ginger beer and lime juice.

This plum brandy recipe would also be delicious poured over vanilla ice cream

But me? I like to sip it straight. I love the sweet-tart taste of the plums! Serve it in a coupe glass or brandy snifter

Hope you love sipping on plum brandy and sharing it with your friends and family throughout the holiday season! Enjoy! 

Plum brandy neat in a glass

Plum Brandy

Yield: 2 cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Make spirits bright with this homemade Plum Brandy recipe made with fresh plums or dried prunes. It makes a lovely holiday spirit for gifting or drinking.

Ingredients

  • 10 prunes, cut into 1-inch pieces (or 1/4 pound of fresh plums, pitted and cut into 1-inch pieces)
  • 2 cups brandy

Instructions

  1. Add cut prunes to a 16-ounce bottle or mason jar.
  2. With a funnel, top with brandy.
  3. Store in a cool, dry place. Let sit at least 3 days, ideally 1 month, but up to 3 months for the strongest flavor.
  4. If desired, once the brandy has infused, strain out the fruit with a fine mesh sieve.
  5. Serve neat in a martini glass or pour over ice cream.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1 ounce
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 65Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 0gSugar: 2gProtein: 0g

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Comments

  1. Jhalisa Clark says

    Hi! I’ve done this recipe, but it is very cloudy even after training though coffee filter, do you have an idea of how to make it more clear or do you drink it cloudy? Thanks.

    • Susannah says

      Hey Jhalisa! It definitely gets a cloudy color when I have made it. If you want something clearer you could always infuse it for less time, but it may lack some of the flavor. Let me know if you try it!

  2. Marilyn says

    Thanks for sharing the recipe, it’s great as is. And making with dried prunes is great if you want something done more quickly rather than using fresh plums.

    But if you want this to be done even more quickly and be clearer, add more prunes and strain through cheesecloth, several layers, several times after it infuses for a while. I also like to add a touch of citrus with about 3 one inch square pieces of lemon peel and add a stick of cinnamon to it while it infuses.

    Also, Slivovice is spelled many different ways. Some similar, some not. It is also made with other fruits. Apricots and pears come to mind. Regardless, it is a wonderful liqueur. Best taken sip by sip, slowly to enjoy it at its best.

  3. Gretchen says

    Dose it matter the temp of the bottles while they are sitting in dark place should it be warm or cool like 69 degrees dark or like 80 dark?

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