It’s that season again. It’s the time when plums ripen in orchards in upstate New York and arrive with such frequency and ferocity, with their tart purple sweetness, that it’s hard to keep up with them. Oh, right, and it’s also hurricane season. Perhaps you heard that we had one named Irene here in New York. The damage in New York City did not seem to be so bad, but I worry for those orchards and farms and farmers upstate due to the high winds and flooding.
As we waited for the storm to blow over we passed the time cooped up in our apartment by cooking. I made a plum crisp inspired by one of Heidi Swanson’s recipes, but it is going to need some tweaking before I share it here. I did, however, create a light, fun, fruity summer cocktail that helped celebrate us making it safely through the storm and used up some more of those plums.
1 stalk lemongrass or 1 scant handful of leaves
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
4-6 small to medium sized ripe plums
First, make the simple syrup. This you will probably want to do ahead of time so it can cool. In a sauce pan over medium heat pour the water and the sugar into the pan and add the lemongrass, chopped if you are using a stalk. Stir lightly until the sugar has dissolved. Heat until the mixture bubbles slightly, stirring occasionally and then strain out the lemongrass. Let cool.
Next, prepare the puree. Cut the plums in half, remove the pits, puree in a blender.
To make the cocktail: In a shaker with ice combine:
2 soup spoon fulls of plum puree
1 soup spoon full of simple syrup
1 shot vodka
The juice of 1/4 lime
Shake. Either strain or serve on the rocks, adding seltzer water and giving a gentle stir. Taste it (if it’s your drink) and adjust ratio of plum, simple syrup and vodka to your taste. Garnish with mint if you have it. Cheers! Here’s to plum (and hurricane) season!