In the Anne of Green Gable stories of Prince Edward Island, there is a reference to raspberry cordial. A non alcoholic version gets mixed up with a currant wine, with consequences. This is the “vodka added” version, definitely not for little girls. It is a sweet, brightly flavoured liqueur for after dinner sipping and other adventures.
There are many Gods and Goddesses associated with alcohol. Most are either connected to beer or wine making or excessiveness. Radegast is a member of the Slavic pantheon and he is connected to alcohol, hospitality, fire, war and the evening sky. (Interesting bedfellows, war and hospitality.) Tales associated with Radegast suggest he is a little centered on self, not an unusual trait for a god and has a fondness for being invited to celebratory feasts, my intended use of this raspbery cordial.
Made with berries, sugar and vodka. It is just a matter of shaking and patience and shaking and patience and possibly a little influence from Radegast?
You will need:
Ensure all the containers being used have had a trip through the dishwasher or are well washed with hot soapy water. Having your hands in all that warmth is a good way to begin a centering and releasing time, letting any distractions fall away through your fingertips, into healing water. Paying attention to deep breaths and out will bring your focus into the present moment and aid in clarifying your intentions before beginning. Welcome the compassionate spirits and begin.
Cascades (shown here) are a hybrid of raspberries and blackberries.
Raspberries, boysenberries, mulberries, chokes, elderberry, currants, tayberries and thimbleberries are all options.
Trying a mixture, balancing sweet and tart characteristics is also fun. Much will depend on what is accessible where you live or forage but it is very nice to be able to offer a flavour/combination that is not commonly available.
Sort through the fruit, picking out overripe and blemished pieces.
Place in a colander, gently wash and allow to dry.
The amount of sugar needed will depend on the amount of fruit and its sweetness.
For the batch I am working on now I started with a cup of sugar, filled a 1 quart bottle with raspberries and topped it with vodka.
That said when I made the cascade berries there were far fewer berries, so I started with 1/4 sugar.
I chose vodka because my intention was to feature the taste of the berries. In Germany, there is a a tradition of making Rumtopf (Rum pot), layers of the fresh fruit in a ceramic jar, topped with rum. As each different berry and fruit is added through the season, more rum and sugar goes in until the new fruit is covered. The entire mixture is left to sit until several months after the end of the fruit season ( or after the Rumtopf is full ) before serving. I mention this because, using a different alcohol is always and option. It all depends on what you would prefer the finished product to taste like.
Store in a cool, dark location and shake once a week before returning to its place on the shelf. Repeat for a minimum of two months. This is where the patience part comes in.
As the mixture matures, dip a clean spoon in and taste the progress. Add more sugar if needed.
The sugar will dissolve and the vodka will take on the colour and flavour of the berries.
I keep the berries and use them in chocolate truffles, ice cream and cheesecakes sauces and other delectables.
Store your finished cordial in a pretty container and enjoy as long as possible.
How long this lasts depends on how many times you share a glass with friends.
Boasting leads to proving which leads to less for you!
I don’t do this often but I will admit I am looking forward to seeing the beautiful colour of this raspberry batch in a decanter, in the months to come.
The picture below is from the cascade berry version made several years ago and now finished, lovingly hoarded as I knew it would be the last time I would have easy access to cascades for many years to come.
Update: September 14, 2017
Although the suggested infusing time is two months, you may choose to filter a little earlier if your preference is the brighter colour. Taste along the way, while the bottle is turned and experience the mellowing of the final product. It will help you decide when to filter.
I placed a coffee filter into a colander and poured the mixture through. Placing a covering of plastic on top will defend against any visitors. Let sit for several hours to get as much of the cordial and fruit juice out of the berries as possible. I will admit that I decanted the cordial and then pressed out the last cloudier bits to enjoy myself before composting the berries. I did think about pressing the berries through a sieve for a batch of truffles but most of what was left was fiber and seeds from the berries, not a lot of useful material.
So there you have it. Simple, tasty and something to remember summer by when the cold winds of January are blowing.
Update: August 2019 – Spiced Cherry Cordial
I made a couple of alternations to the recipe above, firstly the choice of fruit, secondly the added spices; 2 cloves, a 2 inch cinnamon stick and about an inch of ginger quartered per glass jar.
The third change was to try a different method which suggested just leaving the sugar at the bottom and letting it dissolve over time. In the end I did not notice any difference in the final product.
Difference number four was that there was not enough vodka to nicely cover the final bottle of cherries so I topped it up with the last of some brandy and then let everything sit in a dark cool place.
This time I did save the cherries for a truffle recipe.
Fresh Berry Cordial from My Kitchen Wand