I’d bought the last of the summer plums at the farmer’s market and hauled them home. I’d combined them with sugar, vodka, lemon peel, and spices, and then waited the long 3 months and two weeks for the fruit to infuse. Before I’d tasted the liqueur I’d just hoped it wouldn’t kill me. It seemed that surely some crazy new bacteria that only exists in basement apartments in Brooklyn had gotten into the infusion. But then I tasted it. My first thought was that it didn’t taste much like plums; it was more like strawberries, but not even strawberries: strawberries that have been liquified, boiled, turned into a gas, and then inhaled as a vapor. It tasted sweet and pure and profound. It tasted like what you imagine wine to taste like before you’ve ever tasted it: like the word ‘wine’ as the word is slipping from your tongue.

Make this for Christmas. Or actually, screw Christmas, make it for yourself and hoard it and hide it from your friends.


Adapted from The Washington Post

2 ½ lbs prune plums

1 ½ cups sugar

2 1-inch pieces lemon peel

4 cups vodka (plus more if needed)

2 wide mouth half gallon jars

2 cinnamon sticks

1.)    Making sure each fruit is perfect and without bruising before cutting, pierce each fruit to the put with a knife, cutting each plum several times.

2.)    Pack fruit into jars and add sugar, cinnamon, and peel. Pour in enough vodka to cover plums completely and secure lids on jars.



3.)    Keep jars in a cool, dark place and turn them once a day for two weeks until the sugar has dissolved.

4.)    Keeping them right side up, leave them in the cool, dark place for 90 days.

5.)    Strain first through a cheesecloth, discarding fruit, peel, and cinnamon, and then strain the liquid  through a coffee filter.



5 thoughts on “Slivovitz

  1. C´mon -spiced plum vodka is drink for sissies( sweet and smoothy) Slivovitz is not a liqueur, but plum brandy from plum wine. Straight,crystal clear and strong, part of central Europe and Balkan heritage.

    • Indeed, this is only faux-Slivovitz. The brandy I feel tastes a little like battery acid. I prefer the rich, velvety taste of this liqueur. As for it being a drink for sissies, I can assure you that this shit packs a punch

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