Polish Plum Nalewka Recipe

Fresh ripe blue plums on plate
Ekaterina Smirnova / Getty Images
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 2,160 hrs
Total: 2,160 hrs 20 mins
Servings: 16 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
59 Calories
0g Fat
14g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 16
Amount per serving
Calories 59
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 14g 5%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Protein 0g
Calcium 8mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

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.


  • 3 quarts plums, such as Damson (slightly unripe, washed and pitted)
  • 2 quarts good-quality vodka
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 cup sugar

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. 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.

  3. Dissolve sugar in warm vodka.

  4. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

  5. Pour vodka mixture over pitted plums in a gallon jar. Add remaining vodka. Screw cap on tightly and let sit for three months.

  6. If prepared in summer, leave fruit in vodka mixture until just before Christmas Eve for full, fruity flavor. Strain and serve in cordial glasses.

  7. Don't throw away the fruit! Use a few pieces of the fruit in your Christmas compote, serve it over ice cream, yogurt, pound cake, or make an open-face coffee cake using the dough from this Polish sweet roll recipe.