Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Chinese-style Slivovitsa

Slivovitsa (сливовица), also known as slivovitz and sliv'yanka, is a plum brandy most commonly produced in the Balkans, but known throughout Eastern and Central Europe. Although genuine slivovitsa is made by distilling plums with yeast, sugar, and an assortment of other ingredients, slivovitsa can also be made with plums, vodka (or another grain alcohol), sugar, and so on. This recipe is of the latter variety.

Since I currently live in China and báijiǔ - a local grain alcohol - is much cheaper than vodka I substituted the vodka called for in the original recipe with a báijiǔ that had a pleasant, fruity aroma. I wasn't sure which variety of plum to buy since my local grocery store doesn't label its produce in English - it's one department excepted from bilingual labeling for whatever reason - so I used plums from both of the varieties available to me. All in all I'm quite happy with the taste of my slivovitsa, but the báijiǔ was a bit overpowering - vodka is definitely the way to go!

All in all, I would say this recipe would be worth a try if you like báijiǔ, but not so much if you're wanting the taste of the plums to feature more in your end product. In the future I'll definitely be trying this again, but with a good vodka instead. But whatever you end up doing, enjoy!

Chinese-style Slivovitsa

1 large glass jar
14 Damson plums (unbruised)
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1 3-inch cinnamon stick
2 1-inch pieces of lemon peel
1.5 liters of báijiǔ (approximately)

1) Lord, bless!
2) Using a sharp knife pierce each plum three or four times to the pit and place them in the jar.
3) Add the sugar, cinnamon stick, and lemon peel to the plums and cover with the baijiu. (Use more if necessary.) Securely cap the jar.
4) Every day for two weeks invert the jar to help dissolve the sugar.
5) After the two weeks place the jar in a dark space for 90 days to rest. The slivovitsa may be drinkable after 60 days, but the extra month should make for a smoother product.
6) After the 90 days have passed strain the slivovitsa through a coffee filter, bottle, and enjoy!

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