summer brews

September 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

Red Stone Fruit (Satsuma plum & cherry) Cordial. I wanted to harness some of the August ripeness, all sun-soaked and with fruit sugars at a delirious high,  as it crests and collapses into autumn. My darlings from up north, Christopher and Courtney, were due to visit and so I started this brew a couple weeks ahead for our celebrations. Easy, as I still had materials on hand from the cordial I made for my birthday soirée at the end of July. That one was strawberry-basil and it went fast on that rollicking, sweaty dance party of a night:

When I first starting making cordials years ago in the Compound era, we followed recipes (Orange Coriander Brandy was a winner) and made giant vats that infused over a minimum of two months in my prehistoric earthen basement. These were bottled & corked for holiday gifts. I have a few books on the topic but those first recipes came from Food For Friends , a lovely little guide to what my life will be in retirement age. Making lavender cakes for the neighbors and space operas on vintage synths in my basement studio (not shown in book).

For this summer’s brews, though, it was shorter term and I just winged it. Plain spirits (vodka is a simple base) went in a glass container (food safe plastic is ok too) with about a third of the container filled with sliced and slightly mashed fruit. The basil I tore – you want to get the flavor to release as much as possible.

About 24 hours later the strawberries blew my mind – they were ghost white and the brew was bright pink! Plums stayed in for about 2 weeks but I learned short-term infusing can still work. The flavor was lighter so I mixed them into cocktails with mineral water and fruit purée or juice just to be safe.

This method of preservation also works for tinctures & tonics with medicinal herbs. A true cordial also usually has a sweetener added, so I’d say these were somewhere in between. A tangible sip of the spirit of summer, tonic for the soul.


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