Plum Punch Cocktail

I turned yet another year older yesterday. As a kid I was so completely in love with my birthday. Being in a joint family and having lots of relatives and friends around, there was no dearth of people who flooded in to wish me. The buzz in the house, the numerous footfalls, the chitter-chatter emanating from every corner of the house used to fascinate me. From morning I would pray and keep my fingers crossed that rain doesn't ruin my birthday, and by the time I hit the bed that night, I would break into tears that my next birthday would come not before another 365 days. Torture, it was!
Over the years, things have changed a great deal. My last two birthdays (both of which were spent in Delhi) were horrible. The first year my mother was terribly, miserably sick. She had changed 7 doctors in 5 months, but her disease could not get diagnosed. She was in Calcutta, I in Delhi...she was so unwell she would hardly talk to me over the phone and that used to drive me mad. You know when a mother refuses to talk to her only daughter who stays away, things are really, really serious. Anyway, by God's grace and a Messiah of a doctor, her ailment was diagnosed a month later, and currently, with her battalion of medicines, she is doing fine. :)
No event in life can be worse than your mother's sickness. So I won't call my second birthday (2013) worse, but it was miserable nevertheless. However, it did have some redeeming features. I was going through a personal setback which had taken a huge toll on my health and psyche. So the birthday seemed like any other day that I had to pull myself through. On the upside, on the eve of my birthday (which was in effect after 12 am, so precisely on my birthday), we had organised a farewell party for our boss. Not just all the colleagues in my department, but the rest of the office also gathered in the party. A unanimous "Happy Birthday" and a birthday cake (which two of my colleague-friends managed to procure at 2.30 in the morning) from all those awesome people who made up my family in Delhi did, for the time being, make me forget my personal lows.
So finally I was back home, with my parents, this year. We did mostly nothing, I visited my Dida (grandmother) in the morning, and a few relatives and a friend dropped by in the evening. A lot of people called, whatsapped and facebooked...which always kinda makes you feel special that there's still so much love around.
No, I did not bake myself a birthday cake, but indeed cut two cakes in a span of 12 hours. My folks had got a midnight celebration cake which was presented to me when I got back from office. And the second one was sent with a LOT of love from my 3-year old nephew, all the way from Delhi (who made his dad and my brother-in-law Antar da) the carrier.

What I did make however, was this Plum Punch Cocktail for a couple of friends who had come over yesterday, and few days back. I'm suffering from a terrible cold, so I didn't really attempt getting a taste, but the guys said it was pretty darn good. So I guess it's worth sharing with you. :)
Serves: 4


Plums, roughly chopped: 6-7
Sugar: 3/4 cup + 2tbsp
Water: 2 cups
Vodka (I used Smirnoff): 80 ml
Mint leaves or dried mint: for garnish
Ice cubes: 10-12


1. In a deep-bottomed pan, put the sugar and water and bring to boil to make the sugar syrup. Let it boil for 2-3 minutes and then turn off the heat. Let it cool and refrigerate.

2. In another pan, put the chopped plums, 2 tbsp sugar (adjust sugar according to the tartness of the plums) and a little bit of water and saute them to make a thick puree. Strain the juice till the last bit and discard the roughage. Let it cool and refrigerate. (If you're using fresh mint leaves you can crush it first and then mix it with the puree)

3. For assembly: In a martini glass, first put 2-3 cubes of ice and heap a tbsp and a half of plum puree on it. Add 20 ml vodka and top it off with sugar syrup. Sprinkle some dried mint (if using). Garnish with a plum half and get a cocktail pretty in pink!


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