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Looking for something a bit different to drink this summer? How about a Serbian cocktail with plum brandy? It'll put you in good spirits, whatever the weather...

Plums ripening in a Serbian orchard

Plum brandy is one of the most popular alcoholic drinks in Serbia. People drink brandy at all occasions. At christenings they drink to the baby's health, at weddings they drink a toast to the happiness of the bride and groom, and even at funerals they drink, this time to the peace of the dead person's soul. So it's a traditional drink both at happy moments and at sad ones. Over the years, plum brandy has been considered to be an originally Serbian drink, although this may be false: the tradition is so old that people have forgotten where it first came from. One Serbian poet wrote: Oh, Serbia! Among the plums and the people in the fields... This image still holds true. The tradition of making various brandies, especially from plums, is still alive. Almost every household in the villages makes brandy, but so do a lot of people in the towns.

"One Serbian poet wrote: Oh, Serbia! Among the plums and the people in the fields..."

Plum brandy is drunk from a shot glass and, if possible, cool. This brandy isn't a usual ingredient of cocktails, but you should absolutely try these two.

Shumadian tea

Shumadian tea

Making this cocktail is very simple. All you need is plum brandy (about 8 parts brandy to 1 part sugar) and 8 teaspoons of sugar. Put 2 teaspoons of sugar in a pan and melt on a low flame until all the sugar melts and turns brown. Then pour in the brandy over the sugar, add the spare sugar, cover and bring to the boil. If you're using a glass bowl or jug for punch, put in an iron spoon first (otherwise the glass could break) and then pour in the brandy. If you want, you can add mint leaves. You can drink it either warm or cold. The hot version is best when it's chilly outside: nothing could warm you better than a swig of brandy. The cold version is perfect for summer nights out in good company - but only in limited amounts...

A plum orchard in bloom

Shumadia is a region in the centre of Serbia. Its name comes from the Serbian word shuma, which means wood. As the name says, Shumadia is an area rich in woods and natural resources - and there are also a lot of plum trees. And so people say that plum brandy was made there for the first time. Apart from this, over the years Shumadia and Shumadian were synonyms for something completely and originally Serbian. So it's no wonder that this drink, which is said to be originally Serbian, is referred to as Shumadian tea.

Ready to drink...
Cocktail with plum brandy and lemon

You need 4-5 ice-cubes, 1 part plum brandy, 1 part maraschino and 1 part lemon juice. Put the ice in a cocktail shaker along with the plum brandy, maraschino and fresh lemon juice. Shake it and pour into a cocktail glass filled with crushed ice. Finally, add several slices of lemon or orange. And now all you have to do is call your friends and try it! Plum brandy is usually very strong, so you should pay attention to how much of it you drink. The perfect dose of this cocktail will awaken your senses and make you feel great.

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