Friday, 19 September 2008

Elderberry Schnapps

Those with an eagle eye or two may recall a post written a few weeks ago about the gathering of elderberries, in which I alluded to their future as elderberry schnapps the very next day. I’ve been meaning to reveal what actually happened to these berries ever since, but sloes and mini-breaks rather got in the way. Finally, the fate of the elderberries is revealed!

Despite what I promised earlier, I didn’t actually make the schnapps the day after the berries were gathered. After checking that great schnapps resource Danish Schnapps Recipes, I realised that they were supposed to stay in the freezer for a week rather than just overnight in order to temper the slightly bitter taste. In the interested of continuing experimentation with the brewing of odd liqueurs, coupled with my decided taste for the sour and bitter, I decided to leave half in for a week and half for 48 hours. The results will appear in the form of a taste trial in due course.

While the elderberries rested awhile in the freezer, I took myself off to Sainsburies to acquire hefty amounts of booze to match my large haul of berries. My slightly puritanical eyebrow raising at the fact that they include vodka in their el cheapo ‘bare essentials’ range was coupled with irritation that they didn’t make said vodka in one litre bottles. On reflection, being forced to buy slightly more expensive supermarket vodka was probably a good thing, and I'm sure my brain cells with thank me for it in due course.

The recipe used for the schnapps is simple:

- 800ml of elderberries
- Around half a litre of vodka

Place berries in a one-litre bottle and top up with the voddie. This should sit for about four weeks, with occasional shaking. The plan is then to strain the fruit after four weeks and leave the resulting brew to age for a couple of months, or until it seems like a good idea to drink it. I'll probably strain at least one bottle this weekend, so I'll let you know what the results are like. I'm most interested to see how much it still tastes like vodka, since I'm not actually a huge fan of vodka, but if the results are disappointing I suppose I can either leave to it age for a while, or alternatively add some syrup and make it into a liqueur.

What next? Space on the booze shelf permitting, I'm quite keen to try making hawthorn liqueur. I've always thought it a shame that hawthorn berries come in such profusion every autumn yet cannot be used for very much. Unless you are a blackbird.


Anonymous said...

You're planning to fit MORE bottles on the shelf? If I remember correctly, the bottles are already colonising the floor...

Anonymous said...

Since you don't like vodka you might try Everclear. It doesn't have a residual taste. It is twice the proof of vodka so should be watered down to compensate.

sparky said...

What is everclear and where can you buy it?