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Our Andalucian paradise

My husband and I had lived in Mexico City, LA, Paris, Guadalajara, Oslo, Montreal and Vancouver. On a rainy November night we moved to a small town an hour inland from Malaga. 'Our Andalusian paradise' is about the historical town of Ronda, the mountains that surrounds it, the white villages dotted amongst them, of hikes, donkey trails and excursions around Andalucía and journeys further afield.

When given two buckets of plums, tis’ time to make another Spanish liqueur!
11 July 2019 @ 16:09

Cheers. Photo ©

The other day a neighbour asked if we wanted to come over to her house and pick some plums. Not being able to resist an offer of organic fruit, we happily agreed. Subjected to the customary Andalucian generosity, we returned home with two heaping bags of organic plums, one bag of organic almonds, three humongous branches of their spectacular flowering bougainvillea and a potted seedling of a most rare type of cactus.

Cactus in bloom. Photo ©

In addition, as if that weren’t enough, they waved us off with the carte blanche invitation to come back for more any time. They also extended a personal invitation for me to raid their bitter almond tree in the fall, as few people share my love of this unappreciated delicacy.   

Plum picker. Photo ©

That was last night, so when we woke up this morning with plums galore and still only two mouths to feed, my first question was how to utilize them. I have never made plum liqueur before, but since I have made quaffable liqueurs from cherries, pears, lemons, oranges, almonds, walnuts, quince and god knows what else, plums were next in line.




Plum bath. Photo ©


Ca. 1.5 kilo plums

1 large or 2 small organic lemons (only the peel is used, so choose accordingly)

100-ish grams of sugar (I haven’t yet succeeded with stevia, so I use the smallest amount of sugar possible)

750 ml vodka, or 500 ml vodka and a generous glass of brandy


Condiments (feel free to add/subtract)

A few pods of green cardamom

A drizzle of whole coriander seeds

A slug of Mexican vanilla extract (genuine or nada!)

And a shake of Sichuan peppercorns



* Peel the lemons.

* Add lemon rind, sugar, spices, vanilla and vodka to a 2-litre sealable glass jar.

* Fill with whole clean plums until the fruit reach the top of the liquid.

* Store out of sight and mind for 4-6 months.

* Remove the plums. Most recipes will tell you to discard the liqueur-infused fruit, but I do nothing of the kind. I usually boil them to get rid of some of the alcohol, which also makes them easier to pit. Then I chop them and use them in baking with very tasty results.

* Decanter into a bottle and enjoy.

Plum Liqueur in the making . Photo ©

Before you get brewing, I want to make it clear that this is not an official recipe. It is more of a loose suggestion to encourage other plum lovers to get creative.  No measurements are accurate and all may be altered according to taste. Furthermore, I cannot guarantee the result, as it really shouldn’t be opened until near Christmastime. What I can promise is that nobody has died of drinking my liqueurs yet, none of my liqueurs-in-progress has ever exploded, and all who have partaken in my happy hooch experiments have rather enjoyed them.

As far as the inherited bag of organic almonds is concerned, it almost forces me to revamp our supply of homemade Amaretto, but I will leave that project for the fall.

Almonds, not yet ready to pick. Photo ©

Like 1


TravelswithCharlie said:
13 July 2019 @ 11:07

You got my attention with this account. I made wine in Cheshire for about 25 years and picked up some skills. Our gardener always went home happy, the window cleaner too. Close by they grew a damson for cloth dying in the local fustian mills. Damson is really a wild plum the garden plum being domesticated for jam and other uses, but it is rich in pectin whereas damons being wildish are rich in enzymes which kills the pectin. By adding a few pounds of the damsons, particularly to the plums from our garden it guaranteed a highly polished and clear finish to the wine. More recently as we travel around Europe in our Eriba looking for somewhere to live I have taken to collecting seasonal fruit. The obvious sloe gin is a good idea but by adding wild raspberries a great cocktail can be developed. The sloe method is simply the quickest method given our space restrictions. The best discovery yet is the Mirrabelle plum. Those you picked at your friends were a great colour. We are soon to arrive in Corinium aka Cirencester. The mirabelles, semi-wild are a Euro-wide plum and many can be found in Gloucestershire, though in Lorraine they have gained geographic denomination status. They have great plum pie making parties. However it seems they came from Anatolia.

Using the sloe gin system to preserve them is the quickest and most reliable given out traveller status. Find the fruit, in good condition, wash and add to a clean jar, add demerara sugar to taste and for that special aroma, then top up with whatever clear alcoholic spirit available. Then wait a while shaking jars carefully to disperse the sugar. I developed this method on the Camino at Llanes in the north of Spain, there are many fig trees. Collect the figs, clean with a brush, bake on a tray until they sag a little, in this case we had Calvados as the spirit, it was all we had. We travelled to Bencassim to our winter halt, on arrival the figs were great. But also depending on the season, this year for instance, we will collect Mirrabelles in the Bathurst park in Corinium. If it is a bad year then there is always the markets and fruit shop options. But they have travelled this way in killner jars for a number of years, just ready when in Spain, like big raisins, and of course, the choice of alcohol is important. We noticed recently in St Pol de Leon, Brittany, that a clear fruit preserving liquor is sold on the alcohol counter. The remaining plums from last year are in a plastic container in the fridge along with the Valencian large raisin leftover from Christmas Cup, spread them on your cereal to start the day, the Spanish way. Should add the spirit can be drunk.

cowiz said:
15 July 2019 @ 02:48

This plum liqueur sounds absolutely yummy! I may try this with cherries since they are in season right now. I especially like the idea of the cardamon, coriander and Sichuan pepper corns, fruity and spicy! Love it! We hope to try it very soon.

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