Polish Plum Nalewka Recipe

Fresh ripe blue plums on plate
Ekaterina Smirnova / Getty Images
  • 2,160 hrs 20 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins,
  • Cook: 2,160 hrs
  • Yield: 1 gallon (16 servings)
Ratings (17)

A Polish nalewka is an aged cordial. The most common types are made with fruit and either vodka or rectified spirits. This recipe for plum nalewka or śliwówka is traditionally made with Damson plums, a small round tart plum. If Damson plums aren't available in your area, you can certainly use Italian prune plums but the flavor won't be authentic. Nalewki makes for excellent edible gifts, so plan accordingly when making them for Christmas.

What You'll Need

  • 3 quarts plums (Damson, slightly unripe, washed and pitted)
  • 2 quarts vodka (good-quality, for example, Chopin Vodka, or rectified spirits)
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 cup sugar

How to Make It

  1. Place plums in a gallon jar. Pour half of the rectified spirits or vodka into a large saucepan. Add cinnamon sticks and cloves, and warm. Dissolve sugar in warm vodka, remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
  2. Pour vodka mixture over pitted plums in a gallon jar. Add remaining vodka. Screw cap on tightly and let sit for three months. If prepared in summer, leave fruit in vodka mixture until just before Christmas Eve for full, fruity flavor. Strain and serve in cordial glasses. Don't throw away the fruit! Use a few pieces of it in your Christmas compote, serve it over ice cream or make an open-face coffee cake using the dough from this Polish sweet roll recipe.
    Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
    Calories 59
    Total Fat 0 g
    Saturated Fat 0 g
    Unsaturated Fat 0 g
    Cholesterol 0 mg
    Sodium 1 mg
    Carbohydrates 14 g
    Dietary Fiber 1 g
    Protein 0 g
    (The nutrition information on our recipes is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. Individual results may vary.)