Bottom’s Up: The Tilted Plum Cocktail

The great American poet William Carlos Williams would probably be forgiven for eating the delicious plum from his friend’s icebox if he had grilled it and muddled it with bourbon. The heat softens the fruit and intensifies its sweetness and mixes just right with the booze. The lemon juice is like using salt — without it you’d notice something is off. And lavender bitters, well, we like to be classy every once in awhile. Bottom’s up. (For a nibble, bresaola is lovely with this.)

See Cook’s Note on how to make your own simple syrup.

total time: 15 minutes, plus time to heat grill

active prep: 15 minutes

serves: 2

difficulty: easy


  • 1 ripe but firm plum (not too soft)
  • 4 ounces bourbon
  • 1 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 4 teaspoons simple syrup
  • 6 drops lavender bitters
  • Ice cubes

special equipment

  • charcoal or gas grill
  • muddler
  • cocktail shaker with strainer


Prepare the grill for direct heat over medium heat (medium-high for gas).

Halve and pit the plum.

Place cut side down on the grill and grill, turning, until they soften and lightly char, 6 to 10 minutes. The riper it is, the faster it will soften.

Cut the plum halves into chunks and drop into a cocktail shaker.

Muddle and smoosh the fruit until it’s almost all pulp. Pour in the bourbon, lemon juice and simple syrup. Fill with the shaker with ice, as well as halfway up 2 rocks glasses. Shake well, then strain into the glasses. Drop 3 drops of bitters over top of each.

Cook’s Notes

To make your own simple syrup, heat 1/2 cup sugar with 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring it to a boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate. The syrup will last several weeks in the refrigerator. Makes 1/2 cup syrup.

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