When I was young, I never understood why adults enjoyed summer so much. I had months free from the confines of school, so of course I loved it! But they still had to go to stinky work. Why did they act like they had a summer vacation? These days I’m of legal age, and I know the answer to that question. Alcohol.
Only in June, July, and August can a day be spent drinking yummy tropical, creamy, fruity, sour, or bitter refreshments. You don’t even need the 5 O’clock somewhere excuse. Now the best food bloggers have helped to create an even better cocktail experience to end your summer with a bang. #drinkthesummer is taking over the internet and hopefully your drink cart today. Don’t drink liquor? No worries! Alcohol-free beverages are here to spice up your afternoon too! You can head on over to With Food + Love or Will Frolic for Food for the full list of #drinkthesummer recipes, or simply scroll to the bottom of this page and explore away!
This cocktail features a simple syrup of plums, and it couldn’t be simpler! But also super science-y and cool [insert peace sign emoji]. I explained how simple syrups work with iced coffee flavors earlier this summer, but the real star of this recipe is the plum. We want the best parts of the plum’s flavor in our syrup. In order to do that, we need to coax those flavors from the flesh of the fruit. The key to this is osmosis!
Osmosis is what happens when there’s a difference in water pressure between cells that is caused by dissimilar concentrations of salt, sugar, or other solutes. The water will move in between cells until the amount of water is the same on either side of the cell walls. In this case, we want the flavors of the plum which are primarily in the water of the fruit. That means that we need to create an environment that has a lower amount of water than a plum: aka more sugar!
When you boil the plums in a sugar solution, a small amount of water, carrying the scrumptious flavors of said plum, will move into the sugar syrup. And guess what? Some of the beautiful color of the plum will move into your syrup as well creating a sweet, deeply flavored and colored syrup.
Plum Simple Syrup
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
Ice bath (optional)
1. Cut the plums into 1 inch sections removing the pit.
2. Combine the water, sugar, and cut plums in a medium saucepan and heat over medium-high. Once the mixture is boiling, boil for about 3 minutes or until the sugar is completely dissolved and the syrup is a deep purple-y pink color.
3. Strain the syrup into a shallow container. Keep the plum sections to eat (they’ll be nice and sweet) or use them as a garnish for your cocktail.
4. Cool the syrup quickly by either immersing part-way in an ice bath or placing immediately in the fridge.
Sugar Plum Margarita
Serves one with variations below!
2 ounces plum simple syrup (above)
1 ounce lime juice
1 ounce silver tequila
1. In a cocktail shaker, combine a couple handfuls of ice, tequila, lime juice, and simple syrup. To make this easier, use the large end of a standard cocktail jigger (1 ounce) for measuring!
2. Cap the shaker and shake for about 10-20 seconds.
3. Wet the rim of a lowball glass and dip in the coarse sugar (optional). Fill the glass with ice and pour the shaken drink over the top straining as you go.
4. Garnish with a plum slice if desired, and drink up!
In a pitcher, combine the lime juice, tequila, and simple syrup in the ratios outlined above—1 part lime juice, 1 part tequila, to 2 parts simple syrup. Add a handful of ice cubes and stir to combine and chill quickly.
Prep the lowball glass in the same way as the alcoholic version. Over the ice pour the lime juice and simple syrup and fill to the top with chilled lemon lime soda. Use a spoon to carefully stir the components together, and enjoy!
A frozen treat
Prep a large batch of the alcoholic version of the drink and pour into a shallow container. Freeze until mostly solid, at least three hours. The alcohol and sugar will impart a granita-like texture that is lovely! Scoop a few spoonfuls into a champagne flute and top with sparkling wine (prosecco, champagne, etc.). Alternately, top with sparkling water or lemon lime soda.
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