Wild Plum Gin Liqueur Recipe

Here in East Sussex we really have hit the Autumn season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. We picked some wild plums aka bullaces a couple of weeks ago and made a gorgeous Liqueur. It already looks deep pink and glorious, and here is our Wild Plum Gin Liqueur Recipe.

How to identify Wild Plums

Do you know your Bullaces from your Damsons from your Sloes? We have become familiar with all three over the years and can spot them easily now in the hedgrow now, but it can be tricky when you first come across them. 

I created this image to help a little.

Identify Plums Sloes Damsons

Bullaces are small, wild plums. They're quite round compared with damsons which are more oval. They're a bit bigger than sloes, and they certainly taste better raw than sloes do. Incidentally, hopefully it goes without saying but it's always worth remembering that you should never pick any fruit in the hedgerow unless you are absolutely certain you know what it is.

What do Bullaces taste like?

When raw and ripe, bullaces taste just like plums. However catching them in their ripe state can be a challenge. Wild plum trees are very much in demand. Between humans and the wildlife watching and waiting, you will usually have competition when trying to pick them in a perfect state of ripeness. 


The bullaces we picked were mostly ripe, but not all. We had spotted the fruits a few days before and left them to ripen on the tree. By the time we returned, a lot had gone. We didn't dare leave them any longer. What's interesting is that, although some of them were on the sharp side and the flesh was quite green in colour, they turned the gin pink almost immediately.

Bullace wild plum

Well worth the effort to find these gorgeous plums. And the Wild Plum Gin Liqueur they make is not only gorgeous, but simple to make.

If you're not ready to make your liqueur when you pick the plums, they will quite happily sit in your freezer until you're ready. The added bonus of doing this is more juice tends to be released from the fruit more quickly.

Wild Plum Gin Liqueur Recipe


500g Wild Plums

350g Granulated sugar

Half a litre of Gin (any gin will do, we go for the value stuff when we're soaking fruit and adding sugar to it)

1 vanilla pod

2 teaspoons of glycerol


A jar in which to make your liqueur, a tag, plus a sieve, funnel, bottles and steriliser for bottling later.


1. Wash and destalk the plums, rejecting any that are cracked/squidgy. You can then choose to freeze the plums at this stage if you wish (see above).

2. Put the plums into the jar, with a layer of sugar on top of each layer of plums until the jar is full.

3. Slide the vanilla pod down the side of the plums.

4. Pour gin over everything until the jar is full and the plums are completely submerged.

5. Fit the lid and then shake the jar to start to dissolve the sugar.

6. Put the jar on a surface where you will remember to shake it once a day, until all the sugar is dissolved.

7. Put the jar in a dark cupboard and leave it to do its thing for at least 3 months (tends to be more like 6 months in our house, often because I forget).

8. Strain through a sieve to separate the plums from the liquid. If you have left the plums a long time, or your fruit was very ripe when you made your liqueur, you may need to use butter muslin inside the sieve to ensure you catch all the bits.

9. Add the glycerol to the liqueur.

10. Bottle in sterilised bottles and leave for at least 3 months.

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 Wild Plum Liqueur Recipe



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