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Recipe for Bullace Vodka

a le parfait jar with bullaces but vodka gone

What once was a jar of bullace vodka, minus the vodka

A friend from Kent gave us a small bag of bullaces (a small type of plum that grows wild in English hedgerows) last October. We bunged them into a small Le Parfait jar, topping it up with sugar and vodka.

We found the forgotten jar last weekend, hidden behind some pickled plums. It was excellent. Unfortunately, as you can see from the photo, it didn’t last very long.

As with all fruit liqueurs, you can use gin or vodka as the base. We have a preference for gin in fruit liqueurs but this bullace vodka was superb. We will certainly make it again if we can find some bullaces in the hedgerows around the village. Generally they are not ripe until late September or early October.

There’s an old boy in our village who makes bullace brandy from an ancient secret recipe. I thought I might try to make some this year, using the proportions below. I made plum brandy a few years ago, but it took two years to mature before it was drinkable. It was still absolutely vile after one year. Three years on it was bliss.


Recipe for Bullace Vodka
Recipe Type: Liqueur
Author: Fiona Nevile
  • 1 pound / 450gm of washed bullaces
  • 6 ounces / 170gm of white granulated sugar
  • 75cl bottle of medium quality vodka – supermarket own brands are good
  • Sterilised 1 litre (at least) Le Parfait jar or wide necked bottle.
  1. Wash bullaces well and discard any bruised fruit.
  2. Prick them several times with a fork.
  3. Place the fruit in either a large Kilner/Le Parfait jar or a wide necked 1 litre bottle.
  4. Using a funnel, add the sugar and top up with vodka to the rim.
  5. Shake every day until the sugar is dissolved.
  6. Then store in a cool, dark place until you can resist it no longer (leave for at least three months, we usually let it mature for a year).
  7. Some people strain the potion (through muslin/jelly bag) after 3 months and bottle it, leaving it mature for a further six months. We strain and bottle after a year.
  8. Don’t leave the straining process any longer than one year as the liqueur can be spoiled by leaving the fruit in too long.

Tips and tricks:

The fruit will swell a little in the alcohol, so don’t fill your bottle/jar more than half full with fruit before you add the sugar and alcohol.

Make more than you need the first year, so you can compare different vintages. This liqueur does improve over time.

Some people drain the grog through muslin after a couple of months, to clarify the liqueur and bottle. We don’t bother as one old soak tipped that, once the vodka is drunk, you can pour medium sherry on the fruit and start all over again! The latter is devilish and drinkable within three months.

Keep your fruit vodka away from the light as this will maintain the colour. Unless it is in a dark green or brown bottle.

Every couple of months take a tiny sip. At this time add more sugar if it is too sharp for your taste.


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  1. Thank you for your recipe, we found these a few years ago and made the vodka it was brilliant, we then made the sherry. Following that I dried out the fruit and then covered each one at a time with melted dark chocolate, they are wonderful, but remember the stone!
    I now live in Portugal have 7 plums trees, 3 pear trees and a freezer full of fruit all year round as well as gifts from neighbours of many other fruits. All the fruits have at some point been used in booze and then turned into chocolate, the only one we haven]t really liked so far is kiwi fruit, but maybe we needed more sugar, we added very little!!

    • Fiona Nevile

      Life in Portugal with all that fruit sounds idyllic with all that fruit! Love the idea of dipping the fruit finally in chocolate – thanks for sharing. Who needs liqueur chocs when you have these!

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