Thursday, June 21, 2012

Cordials for Christmas!

Cordial Making

 "What did you do on your vacation, Kathy?" my co-workers might ask. I might reply,  "Why we made liqueurs, doesn't everyone?"  I knew there was a reason to save my Hobby Farm Home article on making cordials.  They take about six months to properly age so that should make a pretty happy Christmas around here!  

I will print their recipe at the bottom of the post but here are the steps we took:

  • We started with twelve cups of fruit, in our case divided between cherries and strawberries.
  • The recipe calls for gallon jars but I could not find any so we went with half gallon.
  • Rinse and remove stems from the fruit, leaving pits in the cherries.  I cut the strawberries in half.
  • Get cheap vodka - 1.75 liters, 80 proof.  I used an entire bottle and part of another for six jars.
  • Place 2 cups of a single fruit in each jar, fill with 1 1/2 cups vodka, just so the fruit is covered.
  • Tighten the lid and store in a dark, cool place.
  • Shake the mixture up every two or three days for four weeks.
  • These are the first steps, read below for the full description.

Recipe to make six cups of cordial. (example using cherries)

  The real recipe is for gallon jars, not my half gallon.  Depending on what you use, you'll  need to divide it accordingly.
4 cups cherries, stems removed
3 cups vodka
3 cups sugar
2 cups water (distilled if you are on well water with iron)
Large jars with lids

Mix cherries and vodka in a sterilized, gallon-sized glass jar with tight fitting lid.  Let stand in a dark, cool place stirring every 2-3 days for about four weeks. 

After the four weeks have passed, bring sugar and water to a boil over medium heat.  Stir until sugar is dissolved and mixture is clear.  Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. (This is important- it must cool - Kathy's note) Add to fruit mixture and let stand for four more weeks.

Rack mixture by straining through a fine mesh sieve to remove cherries.  Transfer strained cordial to sterilized glass containers with tight fitting lid.  Cover and let stand a few more months to mellow flavor.

Makes 6 cups.
Hobby Farm Home Nov/Dec 2011 issue

It mentions that you can use grain alcohol (190 proof) but you would need to dilute it with equal parts water. It's more expensive than cheap vodka so we opted for vodka.  We also did not sterilize the jars although they were washed well.  The vodka (alcohol) is a sterilizing agent, as the article mentions, but they said they  sterilized for added precaution. The links provided for additional cordial recipes do not call for sterilization.

The article also provides directions for a maraschino cherry recipe that uses the cherry liquor you make here as the base for "real" maraschino cherries, not the sugary ones you get in kiddie cocktails. That might be in the making too; however, I need to make the liqueur before I can make the maraschino cherries.

 I also saw found a recipe for brandied cherries in Mary Jane's Farm magazine (June/July 2012).  They started with a high quality brandy rather than vodka and heated the sugar and brandy before adding the fruit, plus some other variations.  They had some dipped in chocolate!  Wow! I'll bet it's good too!

Linking to


Michelle said...

I am going to try this. Can you use blueberries?

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

I found this or this one- both about the same but has a photo

Anonymous said...

I have never tried to make a cordial. Thanks for sharing this and Thank you for linking this up at the Carnival of Home Preserving!

CrankyPuppy said...

Oh, I may need to try this! If you're giving them away for Christmas, you might think about some pretty labels and dressing them up with fabric. I just did a post this morning about how I "prettied up" my strawberry jam jars. If you have time, I'd love to have you stop by and check it out!

Candy C. said...

I love making cordials; although, I haven't done any in a couple of years. My favorite is cranberry followed closely by blackberry. YUMMY!! :)

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

Cranberry would be good! I was hoping for blackberry but the wild vines have disappeared, especially with the lack of rain. When people moved in, they mowed them down or sprayed them.

Tamatha said...

I enjoy making homemade cordials too, have you tried Italian lemon or orange liquore? The idea is the same with the vodka and suagr but with lots of lemon or orange peel. Comes out great! Make wonderful gifts.

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

Do you put the whole lemon or orange in too or just use the peels?

Unknown said...

You need to remove the pits from the cherries or you will have cyanide poisoning. That's what happened to me after eating cherries that had been soaking in vodka.