By Pamela Roller
For a lovely homemade gift, consider giving a liqueur or cordial. Below is the promised schnapps recipe as well as recipes for various cordials. At the end I’ve listed hints for packaging ideas. Next month I’ll post recipes for liqueurs—just in time for Christmas gift-giving.
Glass bottles with lids are available at craft stores. The bottle must have a tight lid or cork as air can spoil the cordial.
Cheesecloth makes for a good filter. Be sure that no pulp from the fruit is left after straining as this will cloud the cordial.
Peppermint Schnapps (makes 24 ounces)
1 C clear Karo Syrup
1 C sugar
1 pt vodka
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp peppermint extract
Mix all. Ready to serve.
12 Tbs. orange peel
2 C vodka or brandy
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp each allspice and nutmeg
2 whole cloves
2 C each sugar and water
Place peel, spices, and vodka or brandy in a quart-sized jar. Cover and let cure in a cool, dark place for two weeks. Shake the bottle twice a week to mix contents. Strain and discard the orange peel. Make a syrup of the sugar and water (boil, then simmer on low heat till syrupy). Cool. Stir the syrup into the liqueur, pour into a glass bottle and cover. Cure for four weeks.
Blueberry Cordial (Make this six weeks before giving it)
4 C blueberries
3 C vodka or gin
¼ C lemon juice
1½ C water
4 whole cloves
½ tsp coriander seeds
3 C sugar
Wash and drain berries. Crush them in a blender and add lemon juice, water, cloves and coriander. Heat (do not boil) the mixture, then scrape all into a two-quart jar. Add the vodka or gin and stir gently. Cover and store in a dark place for ten days, shaking every other day. Strain twice through cheesecloth, discarding the pulp. Add the sugar to the juice, stir, and pour into a glass bottle. Cap and cure for four weeks in a dark place. When ready, cordial should be a clear blue. Use within one year.
Plum Cordial (Make this about six months before giving it)
3 pounds ripe plums
2 C sugar
1 quart vodka divided into two equal parts
Pit plums and slice them. Place in a pan with the sugar and half the vodka. Place the pan on low heat, stirring, until the plums are bruised. Transfer to a quart jar, stir again to bruise plums, add the rest of the vodka and cover. Let cure for two weeks. Strain; discard plums. If taste is not sweet enough, add ¾ cup sugar syrup. Pour juice into a bottle, cap, and store for six months or until mixture is clear. The longer it is stored, the richer the flavor. Use within 1 year after opening. Makes 43 ounces.
Pear Cordial (Make this three months before giving it)
½ C water
1 C sugar
4 firm, ripe pears
4 whole cloves
1 tsp each allspice and nutmeg
4 C vodka
Bring the sugar and water to a boil, then reduce heat and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Slice unpeeled pears and place them into a 2-quart glass jar. Add cloves and spices and stir in the sugar-water and vodka. Cover and store in a dark place for ten weeks, turning the jar upside-down once a week to mix. Strain and discard pulp. Pour liquid into a glass bottle, cap, and cure for two more weeks in a cool, dark place. Makes 36 ounces.
· Include cordial glasses in the gift package
· Packaging depends on the color and type of cordial. Carefully arrange glasses with the bottle in a basket or flat box surrounded by fresh fruit and color-coordinated tissue or other filler. Tie with ribbon. Blue and silver packaging works well with blueberry cordial, as does gold with orange cordial. Tiny flowers such as dried baby’s breath complete the ensemble.