Plum Loco Returns

Last year when Corin brought in a paper bag filled with tiny Santa Rosa plums and asked “Can you do anything with these?” I felt instantly twelve years old again, puckering at their sour taste for the first time.  My summers growing up in the East Bay hills were spent building tree forts with friends and pelting one another with the overripe plums that had fallen to the ground.  Everyone seemed to have these trees but no one ever ate their fruit.  Once we tasted their bitter contents, it seemed wiser to use them as projectiles that had the added benefit of staining the opponent’s clothes.


With no idea of the outcome or what its final purpose in a cocktail would be, I macerated the plums on tequila with an oversized masher and waited.  I knew it would be tart, probably enough to act as the sour/bitter component in a drink, and it was.  What I didn’t account for was the skin and pit, which created a tannic, earthy finish.  In the end, I think it tastes closer to a sour Maraska cherry tequila, but it’s still really delicious and works perfectly in a stirred drink that’s bright and light.  Aperol and Cocchi Rosa vermouth lend balance and finish to the tart, fruit-forward tequila.  Manzanilla sherry provides a touch of sea salt and brings out the background flavors of the vermouth.  Grapefruit zest always pairs well with Aperol as it plays up the fruit components while toning down the bitterness.  An easy drinking, apertivo-style cocktail – perfect for the end of summer while there’s still sunshine on the patio…

Matthew McKinley Campbell


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