Having these beautiful fresh damsons to pick for free from my parents’ garden inspired Mr Portions and I to use them for something a little more exciting than jam.
Damsons are an often overlooked member of the plum family because people always think of the tiny tart variety that will burn through your teeth at twenty paces. These are more like eating plums and very fruity and sweet.
This is a rich, fruity liqueur – perfect for quaffing during the mists and mellow fruitfulness of autumn. It is syrupy and tastes like alcoholic prune juice; it’s deceptive because the booze isn’t immediately obvious but really packs a punch!
Here’s what you need:
2lbs damson plums (or any other eating plum, such as Victoria)
2 cups caster sugar
2 cups vodka (we used Smirnoff Blue)
½ cup Polish pure spirit
NB. If you don’t wish to use Polish pure spirit, simply replace it with extra vodka.
Wash the damsons and pat them dry with a paper towel. Cut them in half and remove the stones – this is pretty easy as the damsons will be soft.
Place the prepared damsons in a kilner jar.
Add the sugar and close the lid. Shake.
Add the vodka and Polish pure spirit and close the lid. Shake.
Leave in a quiet spot, at room temperature for 4 weeks and shake occasionally to ensure the sugar mixes in with the damsons and vodka.
When the month is up strain the mixture using a fine sieve or straining bag. Then move on to a more refined filter either lining a sieve with a butter muslin or a coffee filter (but this can get clogged requiring frequent changing of the paper).
Unlike other fruits used for liqueurs, the damsons do not break down – this is what they’ll look like when you strain them out (they are extremely fiery so only eat one if you’re brave!):
Bottle your liqueur and age for a further month.
Time to make, from start to potable: 2 months
Yield: approx 3 cups/750ml