Brandy Plum Sour

Published On August 31, 2012 | By Russell van Kraayenburg | Brandy, Cocktails

As I slide my phone into my pocket, I glance at the time. 3:17. I find myself standing, lingering really, near the doors to the square, characterless communications building on campus. My tattered black backpack rests on my shoulders, jeans just barely hug my legs, and a black and white gingham button-up drape around my upper body. My eyes dart to the large dark panes of glass facading the building. I run my hands through my hair, tidying up the loose ends.

I take a deep breath. The damp, floral air fills my lungs but does little to calm my young, jittery nerves. I begin to trek out into the courtyard; I’ve waited long enough. Somehow walking seems so unnatural. The clumsy blue Nikes barely hold onto my feet as I make the familiar walk towards my dorm. Halfway through the plaza and I’ve already managed to forget why I was so nervous. My eyes sink to the ground out of bad habit. I begin counting stones, looking for rogue weeds, and doing everything other than paying attention to where I’m walking.

With a thud and a jolt, the wind is knocked out of me. I look up, terrified at the possibility of what I’ve just run in to. Any color on my face melts away leaving a pale ghost behind as I stare up into beautiful auburn eyes. 50,000 students on campus and I run into him.

Not traditionally handsome or particularly unique, this gorgeous guy standing in front of me, in his prehipster tight black jeans, striped vneck, too-large glasses, strange hat and loafers exudes such playful confidence that he has managed to catch my eye nearly every day after class for a semester now. Somehow he has stood out amongst the sea of students swimming about the rolling campus and today I ran right into him.

I never did remember if I apologized or if I said anything. I just remember never speaking to him after that moment and after the semester never seeing him again on campus.

Then, four years later and some 2,000 miles away,  I found myself facing a familiar face, this time nervous but still as beautiful. The crush I never really met, this boy who stood out on my campus, is handing me a drink in a bar, four states away from where I first laid eyes on him. I don’t know if he remembers me. He couldn’t. Could he?

The drink, a plum and brandy concoction, was mixed with bad brandy, watered down, and cloy but my attention wasn’t on the tumbler or its contents. Instead I was focusing on how I managed to meet this man twice in my life.  And this time, I knew I wouldn’t mess up the introduction.

To this day I am amazed that I dated a guy I met twice. The first was a mess of an introduction, but without it I don’t know how special the second meeting would have been. And when I finally admitted the events of that day on campus, a few months into our relationship once we moved past the awkward phase, he confessed he too had hoped our second meeting would come much sooner than it did. So he did know.

Sometimes when you get a second chance, it’s amazing how different things can turn out. This drink, an homage to the coincidences we find ourselves facing in fate, is much better than that upon which I modeled it.While Im not sure I would have ever wanted to try it again, I am glad I since have as it is a new favorite. The tart and sourness of the lemon playing with the barely sweet brandy seem to marry so well with the sweet, spicy cinnamon, citrus and plum syrup mixture. Leave the layers separate and you get just a hint of sweetness in each sip. Mix the two together and you get a drink that begins to taste like a deliciously robust punch.

You can omit the syrup in this recipe for a more classic brandy sour. If you plan to include the syrup try it both ways: mix it in completely for a sweet, punch-like drink or leave it layered at the bottom for just a hint of sweetness in each sip.


Sours: Don’t bother with the sweet and sour mix. Cutting and squeezing lemons is so easy and it gives a much cleaner flavor. You just need a little sweetness which is as easy as simple syrup or sugar and water (this recipe calls for the latter).

Sugar in Cocktails: While it is typical to make a simple syrup to add sweetness to a drink, the ratio of liquid to sugar in this recipe is more than enough to allow the sugar to dissolve completely. Just be sure to stir vigorously and for long enough to ensure the sugar is completely dissolved.

Shaking vs. Stirring: I almost always shake drinks – unless of course it has a soda – as I find it does a better job of mixing all of the ingredients together. An added benefit of shaking with ice is that it can chill the drink down if you wont be serving it over ice. This drink is served with ice so there is no need to shake it with ice.

Layering Drinks: The key to layering drinks is adding the layers from lightest to heaviest. It may seem counter intuitive but this is the best way. Each time you add a heavier layer, pour it in slowly along the side of the glass, with the glass tilted, so it can slide slowly to the bottom without disturbing the other layer. A glass with a sprout makes this task much easier. If you want a messier, drippy look, liberally pour the heavier liquid over the lighter liquid and ice.


Russell van Kraayenburg runs the from-scratch baking blog Chasing Delicious

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About The Author

is a born and bred Texan who's always looking for a way to add a little BBQ to his cocktail. He is the Editor-in-Chief of The Boys Club and Founder and CEO of Rambunctious House Media, the food-obsessed company behind The Boys Club, Chasing Delicious, and Follow Russell on twitter @rvank.

35 Responses to Brandy Plum Sour

  1. Aaah Serendipity! It is amazing how destiny works. A sweet story and a gorgeous cocktail! Congratulations boys on the launch of your club :-)

  2. Nicole says:

    Well done! I think you guys are really going to fill a void in the blog world. I have been looking for a good cocktail site for a while. Looking forward to seeing more.

  3. What a strikingly beautiful cocktail–I can’t wait ti taste it! Love the new site!!

  4. Serendipity indeed! Beautiful story … and photos!

  5. And in with a bang! Incredible cocktail, intriguing story and gorgeous photos–but I would expect nothing less from Russell or from any of you boys. Congratulations on what I know is going to be a huge success! xo

  6. Sweetsugarbelle says:

    It’s going to be hard to wait in between posts! Stunning, boys, stunning!

  7. Kristen says:

    Wow – what a chance to make a first impression a second time… and to share this lovely cocktail! Beautiful.

  8. Yay! So excited for you boys and your new project… and what a great way to kick it off, too – love the story, love the photos, and most especially, love the drink.
    Can’t wait to see what else you guys have concocted for us this week! :)

  9. Erika says:

    All of your stories are always so beautifully written… I see this drink happening in the near future for me.. perhaps this evening! :)
    Congrats to you guys (boys) on the new site!!

  10. Rikki says:

    Congrats you guys!
    What an amazing way to start off, great story and great drink. I can’t wait to see more!

  11. Gentlemen, this is perfect in every way. Bravo!

  12. That first photo is so …. decidedly male. I love it, the colors, and the writing. Good luck…I think you boys will capture a niche of readers and drinkers that will just love coming here. Look forward to more…

  13. Stephanie says:

    What a cute memory! Glad of second chances. ^_^

  14. Gentlemen!! what more can one say than …Cheers!!!

  15. As I expected, I love absolutely everything about this… Great story, and love the cocktail. It sounds fabulous.

  16. I knew this would be a cool place to hang out. Love your writing- and I’m sure I’ll love the others as well- and the photography is just breathtaking. Lovely cocktail to kick things off!

  17. Amazing photos. Light is perfect & colours are warm.

  18. Lovely post, amazing photo and great, helpful info! I love this site! Congratulations! Hugs and Cheers :-)

  19. JulieD says:

    Can’t wait to see more, more more!! :)

  20. Alison Lewis says:

    omg this looks divine!

  21. The photo is fab and gorgeous Russell. Then again, you guys are all super talented! Makes me melt from just looking at this cocktail. Your story got me thinking deeper too ;). All the best to this wonderful new beginning!!! Cheers~

  22. Cinnamon Plum Syrup? YES. I’ll just put a little bit of that in everything, thank you. Congrats on the launch!

  23. Carolyn says:

    Hmph. Now I want to be a boy so I can be part of the boys club!

  24. BigFatBaker says:

    Love the new site!! I can’t wait for more awesome drink recipes and stories such as this one. The drink itself is gorgeous and sounds amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever had a plum drink but it sounds amazing.

  25. MikeVFMK says:

    This is one sexy looking beverage. And a great story weaved with your lovely words. I could definitely go for a plum libation.

  26. What a great story, cheers to second encounters!

  27. Russell, This cocktail sounds deliciously boozy! The plum syrup and citrus are a perfect combination with the brandy. Love it :)! Looking forward to all of your cocktails!

  28. Jeanette says:

    Love your new site – love the lighting in your photos and your beautiful voice in this post.

  29. Sonya says:

    Came here for the recipe – can’t wait to try it – and was completely transported by your writing. Nice one.

  30. that is one outstanding cocktail! oh how I can’t wait until I can drink again…

  31. That picture is stunningly gorgeous. Wow.

  32. Sonya says:

    Tried this recipe out at a family dinner on Sunday. Thumbs up from my entire clan. It will definitely be making it into the regular rotation. Thanks!

  33. Pingback: Brandy and Slivovitz Blog » Blog Archive » Brandy Plum Sour

  34. SALLY TEWS says:

    this drink sounds AMAZING~can’t wait to try this;-)

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