makes 1 cocktail, plus extra plum syrup
1 1/2 hours
ovenproof dish, saucepan, cocktail shaker
For the Plum Syrup:
2 pounds plums, halved and pitted
1/2 cup honey
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 star anise
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
For the Cocktail:
2 ounces plum syrup
1 ounce Applejack
4 ounces hard apple cider
1 To make the plum syrup: Heat oven to 325°F. Arrange plums cut side down in an ovenproof dish that holds them in 1 layer.
2 In a medium saucepan, combine honey, cinnamon, maple syrup, star anise, balsamic vinegar, and water. Place on medium-high heat. As soon as mixture begins to boil, pour evenly over plums. Cover dish tightly with foil.
3 Bake plums until tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove foil, and let cool slightly. Remove plums from dish (they can be served for dessert, with a little syrup poured over them). Strain syrup into a jar with an airtight lid. It will keep for two weeks in the refrigerator.
4 To make the cocktail: Fill cocktail shaker with ice. Add plum syrup and applejack. Shake for about 10 seconds. Strain into a glass filled with ice, then pour the cider over top. Gently stir cocktail and serve.