The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

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.


  Leave a reply


  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Colin,

    We find it hard to give away our raspberry gin! Glad that you found a good bullace harvest. Have you tried bullace brandy?

  2. Hi all who view

    I have been making sloe gin for years now and its great as Xmas presents, I had a go at making some Blackberry gin last year, it realy does give a full colour and tastes out of this world, perhaps a bit too good to give away. I found some bullace at the entrance to my mums farm a week or two back, I could not resist and hand the footwell of the car full in no time at all, so much easier than sloe berries, and worth all the time and expense for a real treat. Happy hunting all.

  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Jen,

    Happy brewing/jam making. They might make a good chutney too.

  4. Thanks for this- My mum has a bullace tree in her garden and it is loaded this year!

    Now we know what to do with them!

  5. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Emma,

    Great to hear that bullaces make great jam. Our local bullaces (the green, wild greengage ones) are over now but I will remember this for next year. Thank you.

  6. bullace make a very good jam.
    we made it this year and last.
    it takes patience to remove the stones – you could probably remove them during cooking.
    thanks for the bullace vodka – I will be trying it this year.

  7. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Plumsource,

    Thanks for reporting back. Bullace vodka is a great liqueur.

  8. plumsource

    Very excited to have got mine on the go now after you kindly identified that what I had foraged were bullaces. Thanks v much n can’t wait til it’s ready!

  9. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Zeena,

    Thanks for dropping by. Yes the gin is expensive and can cause stares in the supermarket queue if you are buying several bottles at once! It’s delicious though, and definitely worth making.

  10. Thanks for the tips on bullace vodka, I usually make sloe gin and have just picked about 4 kilos, could not decide if they were sloes or not, but they did not all fit in the glass neck of wine and gin bottles so I realised they were not sloes. Have now started 4 bottles of bullace gin. Have pureed most of the fruit. Trouble is it gets expensive buying all the gin. All the wild plum chutney instead of bought mango chutney will not save enough to justify 10 bottles of gin!!! regards, Zena

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

HTML tags are not allowed.

2,235,296 Spambots Blocked by Simple Comments

Copyright © 2006-2022 Cottage Smallholder      Our Privacy Policy      Advertise on Cottage Smallholder