Approx cost: €18
Approx calories (per serving): n/a
Approx preparation and cooking time: ~5 months
I happened to come across a rather interesting post recently on the wonderfully helpful Sissi’s blog, “With a Glass“, about making Apricot Gin. I’m not a big drinker, but I do enjoy the occasional one, especially at Christmas time. Being not too much of a fan of Gin or Vodka I remembered that the company “De Kuyper” makes some rather delicious Cherry and Apricot Brandy and I figured that perhaps, just perhaps, these wouldn’t be too hard to emulate. Using Sissi’s invaluable advice I set to work this weekend on my very own batch of both Cherry, and Peach Brandy, with the plan of giving them to friends and family as wonderful little gifts come December time.
I’ve literally only just made it, so this post is going to have to be a work in progress. I will write the post now, because if you wanted to do the same sort of thing for Christmas it’s advisable to do it sooner rather than later… especially since such fruits are in season! Bear in mind though that I am a mere novice at this so please read around if in any doubt, as I do not yet know whether this will be a complete disaster or not (although early indications are that it will be awesome! I like the drink to be sweet – like a liqueuer, so you may need to adapt accordingly if you’re not so keen! Good luck! I’ll be updating this in about 3 months with the results of my experiment!
- 1 x 70cl bottle of Cognac
- ~700g fresh Cherries
- ~400g Sugar
- 3 cloves
- 1 Cardamom Pod
You’ll also need
- A large Preserving Jar
- Start off by washing the cherries well. Cut each one in half to expose the pit.
- Transfer the cherries to a large Preserving Jar and add the sugar. Shake the jar and leave for around 4 hours.
- After this time, remove the cardamom pods from their shell, and if you have one, crush the seeds and cloves in a pestle and mortar. If you change the spices, be careful – from all accounts I read you really only need very little to get a good flavour infusion.
- Add to the sugar and cherries and pour in the Brandy. Seal the jar and shake. Leave out in the light, and stir periodically over the next few days so the sugar dissolves. After about 5 days, place the jar into a dark place for one month.
- After one month, remove about 90% of the cherry pits from the brandy. The easiest way to do this is to have another large Preserving Jar on hand. At this time, taste a spoonful or so of the brandy. If you find it very sweet add a little more brandy – maybe a quarter or a bottle or so, maybe more depending on your tastes. At this stage I had too much liquid for one Preserving Jar so I split it between two. Seal the jars again and place back into a dark place for about another 4 or 5 months. After this time, take out and you can start the bottling.
- For the bottling, you’ll need a sieve, a muslin cloth and a load of small bottles (if you intend on gifting this), as well as a small funnel. Start by washing the bottles thoroughly and soaking the corks in a bowl of cold water. Place the bottles to drain while you move onto the next step. Start by pouring the contents of one of the preserving jars through a sieve, into a large bowl or pan to remove the large pieces of fruit. After this, strain the liquid through a muslin cloth into another pan to filter out any smaller pieces of spice or fruit fibres. You can now pour this strained liquid through the funnel into the clean bottles before pushing the corks in firmly (thought not too far!).
- Wash and drain some glass canning jars thoroughly and you can store the fruit, minus the pits, in these. These are excellent in desserts and when used for baking. For the bottles of brandy, as an extra finishing touch you can dip the tops in melted wax or tie a ribbon around the top should you so wish and then either gift away or keep for yourself! Enjoy