Too much fruit? Soak it in brandy!

Too much fruit? Soak it in brandy!

As word spreads among my coworkers and friends that I make stuff, I’m increasingly getting gifts of excess produce and specialty food items.

I’m not complaining.  I’m always up for a culinary challenge.  And everyone else seems to be willing taste-testers, so it works out quite well.

Recently a coworker brought in a big bag of wild plums collected from his property.

Normally I would make a fruit crisp or muffins with extra fruit.  But I’d just made biscotti and cookies, so we didn’t really need another dessert.

At this point, my mind always says: what do we need to use up?  And then I try to get creative.

If you don’t know me personally, you may not know that my husband & I travel.  A lot.  To the point where we sometimes don’t see each other for weeks because of conflicting trips.  Anyway, during all of this travel we tend to bring back interesting food products from foreign lands.  Which means we end up with lots of bottles of liqueur which might have been tasty as a digestif in Warsaw or Zagreb, but don’t really do it for us back at home.

This plum brandy is a combination of a honey liqueur from Lithuania, local English plums and a few cinnamon sticks.  My idea is a bit like a German Rumtopf: leave the plums steeping in the brandy for several months, and then eat them over ice cream as a winter dessert.  I suppose we could flambee them too given the ridiculous alcohol content of this brandy (50%!!!).

I’ll post the results in a couple of months!

Plum Brandy

  • 3 cups plums (pitted and halved)
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • brandy
  1. Pour half the sugar in the glass container.  Add the plums.  Add the rest of the sugar.  Cover the container and shake, so the plums are all covered in sugar.  Add cinnamon sticks down the sides of the jar.  Top with brandy.

  2. Make sure all of the fruit is covered in brandy (this is important so it doesn’t grow mold!). Rotate the jar gently to make sure all of the plums are covered by brandy. Store in a cupboard for several months, shaking gently when you remember to dissolve the sugar.

  3. Eat over ice cream and drink the liqueur as an aperitif (stay tuned for different ways to eat these plums!)


About the author

Amanda Cook is an author, entrepreneur, and alchemist. She helps successful women create lives of meaning & magic by connecting with the seasons. Her work has appeared on BBC Radio 4, The Sunday Telegraph, Natural Health UK Magazine, and more. Learn more at

Amanda Cook is an author, entrepreneur, and alchemist. She helps successful women create lives of meaning & magic by connecting with the seasons. Her work has appeared on BBC Radio 4, The Sunday Telegraph, Natural Health UK Magazine, and more. Learn more at

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  1. HI Amanda,
    I tried brandied plums for the firsts time, this year, and the recipe I used was almost the same as yours, with the exception of adding some vanilla bean also. I just opened a couple jars and while the taste is wonderful, the skin of the plums got SO hard and tough, that they cannot be eaten!! I don’t get it. The meat of the plums is softer, and I used two different types of plums (all at full ripeness), and both types have the same issue. Any ideas? They are kind of a total bust as I can’t put them on ice cream and then have to spit out the skins. Help!

  2. This is the first time i’ve heard of doing this with plums, I guess you learn something new everyday!

  3. My plum cordial has a “mother” like kombucha on it. The jars also let off pressure when I opened them. So I’ve left the lids on loosely. I didn’t use the fruit. I used the juice only. Is this safe to drink?

    1. Hi Irvina, I would not eat these or drink the juice – they should not be growing a kombucha mother and fizzing!

    2. If I think a small amount of mold has formed on the top of my brew is there any way to save it ? ehat are the dangers of drinking the ‘brew’ ?

  4. Hi! I have just found half a dozen jars of brandied plums I made 2 years ago. I assume I need to toss them in the garbage but was wondering if the alcohol made them preserve longer? I also found some brandied pears. Darn it…stored them so deep in my cold room I forgot they were there!!! Thanks for your help!

  5. Hi there, i followed this recipe using gin in place of brandy, and added 1/4 c elderberries that i had hanging around. 7 days later, agitating daily, the sugar disolved. After 10 days the mix began to ferment. Do you know if this can be saved, or if i need to do anything to change the method going forward?

    1. Hi Jenny … how do you know it was fermenting? I don’t think it should ferment with so much alcohol in the mix, what percentage alcohol was your gin?

      1. 40%…I made a couple of batches with the pits intact (skin pierced.) Only the pitted fruit batch began to ferment. It was bubbling and fizzing, with an increase in pressure in the jar. Seemed like fermenting to me, but I definitely don’t know anything about the subject. I loosened the lid and let it continue for another day or so and then following other recipes involving fermenting the fruit, I strained out the fruit and re-jarred the liquid, topping off with additional gin.
        Do you think I should toss it, or continue to age it and offer it to some brave guinea pig in a couple of months?

        Thanks for your response!

    1. Hi Jennifer, I used a 1 Liter jar, but it really depends on the amount of plums that you have. You want the jar to just fit all of the plums, with maybe 1 inch left on the top so you can fill it with brandy. It’s a very flexible recipe!

  6. Very intersting recepie ,thanks, Amanda! will try next year for sure!
    I live in Lithuania, so no problem with honey drink you offer to use 🙂

  7. Making the brandy plum for Christmas gifts. Followed directions exactly. The plums keep floating to the top. I know they have to be covered with the brandy so they don’t mold. Do we need to add more plums or is this what is supposed to happen?

    1. Hi Toni,

      My jars are very slightly angled in on the top so I guess that keeps the plums under the brandy. You could try adding more plums. I think if your jar is really clean when you put them in, since it’s just plums & brandy you have lower risk of mold. I would also give it a gentle shake every couple of days to cover the exposed plums with brandy.

  8. Very interesting! I haven’t really considered making any flavored alcohol with my recent finds. Something new to consider! Good post, thank you!

    1. @Jesse, there’s only so much jam one can make 😉 I had to get creative! (And find stuff that was long-lasting…)

    2. I want to use leftover plums as a filling. Are the plums really sweet? And what the alcohol %?
      Txs Becca

      1. Hi Becca, I wouldn’t use the plums as a filling, they are very alcoholic. I’ve just been eating them one or two halves at a time with ice cream as a treat.

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