1 Stone Fruit, 3 Cocktails: Plums
It’s stone fruit season! Here’s how to do right by its wonderfulness, in cocktail form. Each week in August, we’ll show you how one fruit can mingle happily with three distinct spirits. Last week: peaches. Today: sweet-tart plums.
Martha Holmberg knows a plum assignment when she sees one. The former editor-in-chief of Fine Cooking and co-author with Jeffrey Morgenthaler of a tome on cocktail technique has just released a book called Plums. It’s a sweet little homage to the plush fruit that comes into its own this time of year.
"I used to think a plum was kind of boring until I got into them," Holmberg told us, “but now I realize they’re so versatile!” She is so smitten that she grows them in the yard of her Portland, Oregon home, and jumped at the chance to share three cocktails showcasing the plum’s charms.
From a bright cherry–plum sangria fit for hot-as-heck outdoor barbecues to a divine plum-rosemary shrub plucked from the pages of her new book, here are three herbaceous, dead-sexy, sum-sum-summertime drinks, plus Holmberg’s notes on what makes each so special.
All photos: Martha Holmberg
Plum and Cherry Sangria
by Martha Holmberg
Makes a pitcher, about 1 liter, serves 6-8
I like this sangria because I actually want to eat the fruit as well as drink the wine (no dreary orange slices). In fact, I think of it as a salad. Health food. The plums and cherries stay firm and keep most of their color, so the drink looks pretty throughout the evening.
½ cup sugar
1/4 cup fresh basil or mint leaves, plus a few extra sprigs for garnish
10-12 fresh dark sweet cherries, pitted and halved
2 ripe plums, pitted and sliced into wedges
One 750 ml bottle of fruity, un-oaked white wine, such as Pinot Gris or Verdejo
2-4 oz.fruit brandy such as Kirsch or Silvovitz (optional)
Put sugar and ½ cup water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat and add herbs. Let sit about 20 minutes.
Pour still-warm syrup over cherries and plums. Cool the mixture, covered, at room temperature for at least two hours, or overnight in the refrigerator.
To serve, remove fruit from syrup and place in a pitcher. Add wine. Add syrup, to taste, and brandy (optional). Garnish with basil or mint sprigs.
Rum, Plum, and Ginger Smash
by Martha Holmberg
Makes one cocktail