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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. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Mandarama

    How exciting – hedgerow grapes!

    I’d love to hear how the wine recipes turn out.

  2. mandarama

    Many thanks

    I have already made sloe gin and am admiring its ‘cerise’ hue. Will defrost a batch of mirabelles this afternnon and make the plum brandy tomorrow.

    Also intending to pick hedgerow grapes from a well hidden vine found last year, when I picked several carrier bags of ‘almost over’ fruit. I’ve been keeping an eye on them, this time round, and hope to make wine. My father was an avid country wine maker and I now have all his old (mainly simple)recipes etc

    Happy to share them, once I’ve checked their outcomes

  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Mandarama

    Bruised fruit means Fruit with bad bits not frozen plums 🙂

    Mirabelles sound great. All you need to know is go easy on the sugar (you can add more later on but you can’t take it away).

    Great that you are enjoying the site.

  4. mandarama

    recipe says not to used ‘bruised fruit’ – I was hoping to use mirabelles I have previously frozen.

    What do people think?

    PS thank you for all these amazing tips and recipes (and I wish I lived near Norwich)

  5. I know this is late, but have a few ballace trees that are covered with fruit so if anyone live near Norwich they come the 5 or 6 miles and have as many as they can carry free

  6. Made bullace vodka (found I have my own bullace tree which is now kept a secret)and after 6 months it is fantastic. Also did bullace martini(dry), and after a taste test with all my neighbours it was decided that I had to do a lot more next year.
    Pop quiz…….why do the bullace in vodka float and the bullace in martini sink ???

  7. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Plumsource

    We cracked open our bullace gin last night when Danny’s brother came to stay. It was great, almost like roughish an Eau de Vie. I’ll definitely be making it again next year!

  8. plumsource

    I’ve had a sneaky slurp of my bullace vodka and it’s coming along nicely enough to give a bottle away to my brother who’s due on a delayed xmas visit on sunday! I will let the rest mature as long as I can wait. It tastes to me like cherries – yum! Thanks so much again for the tips.

  9. Fiona Nevile

    You could try using them for fruit vodka. Apart from that I am sorry I don’t have a clue

  10. What do I do with a surfit of Aylesbury Prunes?!

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