Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Making Blueberry Cordial and Blackberry Brandy for Holiday Gifts

The start of my cordials and brandies 2012
I went to New Hampshire last week to visit my sister Shelley Laine. She lives in a delightful antique farmhouse. I brought her Lobsters from Gloucester and she brought me blueberry picking at a nearby field of cultivated blueberry bushes. We picked, literally gallons of blueberries. I am thrilled because I love them and make all kinds of muffins and pies with them all winter. 
Shelley on the right, me on the left
in fron of the blueberry bushes
My sister, Shelley showed me what she does with some of her blueberries, which is to make Blueberry Cordial. We sampled some of hers after a fantastic Lobster dinner in her antique dining room. She collects crystal and she served the blueberry cordial in a fantastic crystal decanter and really beautiful sweet tiny cordial glasses. It was like having desert on top iof dessert. I think the art of after dinner drinks is largely forgotten but I would like to see a resurrection soon!

While I was visiting Cape Cod, I visited a thrift store there and bought this etched decanter for $5 and the small glasses I found were 6 for $7. I plan on making a gift o this during the Christmas Season with one of my Cordials.

While I was away my husband found some really impressive blackberries and bought them for me so when I returned I decided to make both Blackberry Brandy and Blueberry Cordial for the Holiday Season. You mix the berries with brandy or vodka and shake them every once in a while and they are ready after two months. They must be kept in a dark cabinet. I look forward to doing another post once the cordials are finished but I wanted to show you how to start them now, because now is the time to start them.

Blueberry Cordial
Glass Quart Jar container
2 cups Vodka
1-2 cups Chopped Blueberries (I put them thru the food processor on a quick pulse)
1 cup Sugar

Mix together and shake every couple of days for 2 months, strain thru cheese cloth and then decant into a pretty decanter or glass container. Serve in small crystal glasses as an after dinner drink. You can also flavor a champagne or sparkling wine cocktail with a bit of the Blueberry Cordial.
This makes a fantastic Holiday Gift and now is the time to plan it when berries are in season. I know you can make it with frozen berries in a pinch but what could be better than your own hand picked Blueberry Cordial. I happen to know that the berries I picked in New Hampshire were Organic which is a nice thing too!

Blackberry Brandy
Glass Quart Jar container
2 cups of Brandy
1-2 cups of chopped blackberries (I put them thru the food processor on a quick pulse)
optional: You can add sugar to this if desired or you can wait and flavor to taste with a sugar syrup after the two months of shaking. Personally, I don't really like sugar in my brandy and enjoy the tart Blackberry taste without it. It is a matter of personal taste.

Mix together and shake every couple of days for two months, strain they a cheese cloth and then decant into a pretty glass container. Serve in Brandy Snifters. You can warm the Blackberry Brandy and serve it in the snifter warm. It is really a wonderful after dinner drink! The Warmed Blackberry Brandy is the perfect dark winter drink after a wonderful meal, best enjoyed in front of a roaring fire!

I pulled together a few jars of cordial and brandy and I am planning on a few more. I am going to try it with Raspberries too! I may even try my hand at Lemon Cello which you make with Lemons and Vodka. Hope this was inspiring for you! I know visiting my sister and imbibing some of her special Blueberry Cordial was such a treat, I was guided to come home and try it myself. Happy Concocting!

Kind Regards, Melissa Abbott

UPDATE: to read about the decanting process: http://www.gloucestergourmet.com/2012/12/decanting-blueberry-cordial-and.html