I drink this luscious concoction straight or dilute it with water. Best of all is a fizzy drink topped with pink foam, produced by adding gingerale. In any form, this drink is great in the middle of a steamy night or throughout the day.
Luckily, I was with food writer and historian Nazli Piskin. Nazli's an excellent cook (follow her on Instagram under Nazli Piskin and Edible Istanbul) and she told me how to make the drink. To explain the name, erik is Turkish for plum and suyu is juice.
The plums will float as they boil, and the skins will turn the water a beautiful red. After they cool, work them through a sieve with fine holes, a few at a time. Discard the seeds and skins. Strain the juice into a bowl.
Now stir the plums into the reserved juice, taste and add more sugar if wanted. Then bottle, refrigerate and watch it disappear. I drank my last batch so quickly there was no chance to share, but it would be lovely in a pitcher for a summer party.
15 red plums, about 3 pounds
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 cups water
1 stick cinnamon
Wash the plums well. Place them in a large bowl. Coat them with the sugar and let stand at least 1 hour or longer.
Turn the plums into a Dutch oven (Nazli uses a pressure cooker). Add the water, rinsing out the bowl with some of it. Add the cinnamon stick.
Bring the plums to a boil and boil until very soft, 30 to 40 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the plums stand until cooled, at least 1 hour.
Place a sieve with small holes over a large bowl. Place 1/3 of the plums in the sieve. Working with a heavy-bottomed glass or small jar, force as much pulp as possible through the sieve. Discard the skins, seeds and cinnamon stick.
Repeat with the remaining plums, in two batches.
Strain the liquid in the Dutch oven into another bowl. If any bits of plum are in the liquid, put them through the sieve.
Combine the sieved plums and the liquid and stir. Taste and add more sugar if wanted, but the mixture should be sweet enough.
Pour into clean storage jars, cover and refrigerate. Serve as is, over ice, diluted with water, or in a pitcher with ice for a party.
Makes about 9 cups or 10 servings.