This morning did not go well. I woke up with a piercing headache. My youngest refused to eat breakfast and spent her energies torturing her big sister. Even after the girls were off to daycare and school, I couldn’t seem to turn my mood around. It took a kickbox class, dancing with my youngest as we waited for her bus, and a comfort-food lunch of leftover risotto to start things moving upward.
After that carb-laden lunch, I threw myself into an editing project and didn’t come up for air until later in the afternoon. It was then that I remembered the Blackberry Brandy. A few months back, I’d found myself with a surfeit of blackberries. After making as many blackberry scones and cakes and muffins as I could stand, I had come upon a recipe for blackberry brandy. Having made crabapple liqueur last summer, I was ready to tackle another homemade spirit.
Combining blackberries, brandy, sugar, and spice in a canning jar had been easy enough. The jar needed to be flipped every day for a week to dissolve the sugar, then it was set in a dark pantry closet. Its mid-March “open date” was recorded on my calendar, but today seemed the day for its unveiling. I’d survived the morning, then worked solid through the afternoon. Opening the brandy would be my reward. I strained it as directed in the recipe (tried a few macerated blackberries while I was at it–wowza), then poured a bit into a small glass for tasting. Its color was rich and gorgeous; the flavor warm, sweet, and spicy. Because it is so sweet, it would be easier to drink cut with soda water. I also might try it with a hit of lime juice or muddled with fresh mint. Just thinking through the many cocktails I could make should brighten any gray days ahead.
- 4 cups fresh blackberries
- 2 cups brandy
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 6 to 12 whole cloves
In gallon screwtop jar, mix all ingredients; cover tightly. Invert jar. Let it stand 24 hours. Turn jar upright; let stand another 24 hours. Repeat process until all sugar is dissolved. Store in cool, dark place at least 2 months. Strain through cheesecloth into storage container.