Making Homemade Cordials, with Guest Blogger Kathie Lapcevic
What a whirlwind the past two months have been! In addition to getting our family settled in to our new farm, I’m also between two gardens, finishing up my seasonal CSA (community supported agriculture) sales, and I just completed another academic year of teaching at the med school. Whew!
So please forgive my blogging absence — I’ll make it up to you next week, when I begin a series of WEEKLY giveaways to celebrate our move to the farm, some recent blogging awards, and other fun news that I’ll reveal as we go along! Trust me… you don’t want to miss out on these great products (think garden tools, books, seeds, etc)!
In the meantime, I’m happy to introduce you to a blogging buddy of mine. Kathie Lapcevic is a writer and teacher, and the amazing force behind the blog, Homespun Seasonal Living.
When I found out that Kathie was offering a summer e-course, with lessons on foraging, herbal teas, homemade body products, and more, I knew you would want to hear about it. And what better way to introduce you to Kathie’s teaching, than to give you a taste of what the Fiercely D.I.Y.: Projects for a Courageous Home e-course will cover? I was ecstatic when she agreed to share her knowledge about homemade cordials with you. So here’s Kathie… Enjoy!
Homemade cordials are a great way to combine local, homegrown flavors into adult drinks for refreshing desserts and amazing gifts. The great thing is that they’re inexpensive, can easily be tailored for folks with food allergies or sensitivities (assuming alcoholic drinks are okay) and make use of the scraps and bits of excess found around the homestead during the summer and fall months.
Constructing the Basic Cordial
Cordial making is super simple and requires no special equipment like home-brewing. Simply put something fresh and flavorful in a jar, filling it halfway. Now, fill the jar with vodka, brandy, or rum and remove any air bubbles. Cover the jar with a lid and store in a dark cupboard for about a month. Shake it when remembered. At the end of the month, strain it. Sweeten the infused liquor with some simple syrup and store in a clean bottle. Drink over ice, with club soda, in hot cocoa, etc.
A Basic Simple Syrup
If a sweeter drink is desired, after straining, sweeten the liquor with a simple syrup. There’s no exact science or ratio here. Simply add a little, taste and add more if desired. Skip sweetening the cordial all together and have some simple syrup on hand to sweeten individual drinks if desired.
Simply add 3/4 cup honey (or 1 cup white sugar) to 1 cup water. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes and allow to cool before using. Store any excess in the refrigerator.
Some Cordial Ideas:
Cucumber Vodka: Fill a jar half-full of cucumber peelings (use homegrown or local unwaxed peels). Pour vodka over the peels to 1/2″ of the top of the jar. Give it a good store, put the lid on and put in the cupboard for a month. At the end of the month, strain the peelings and bottle the infused vodka. This is especially tasty served in tomato juice.
Apple Brandy: Fill a jar half-full of apple peels, again use unwaxed peels. Fill the jar, leaving 1/2″ of headspace, with brandy. Again leave sit in a dark cupboard for about a month before straining. Sweeten the apple brandy, if desired, with a simple syrup. Serve in some hot spiced cider on a cool fall evening.
Mint Rum: Lightly pack a jar half-full with fresh mint leaves. Bruise the leaves slightly with the handle of a wooden spoon. Fill the jar to within 1/2″ of the top with rum. Leave sit in a dark cupboard for a month before straining. Sweeten if desired. Use this flavored rum to make mojitos for those summer parties.
There’s no need to use the expensive vodka, brandy, or rum here. Simply use whatever is on sale, the liquor is going to take on the flavor of whatever cordial is being made anyway. Do use gluten-free liquors as necessary, however.
Cordials make great gifts. Find pretty bottles at yard sales and thrift stores. Fill these bottle with the strained cordials and attach pretty tags or labels for the folks on your gift list.
As the summer rolls by and the garden produces a handful of extra berries, too much lemon balm, and more consider tossing those extra bits of abundance into a jar with some vodka and creating your own, customized bar.
Creating flavorful cordials (with plenty of ideas for customization and exact recipes) are just one of the weekly projects in this summer’s Fiercely D.I.Y. e-course being offered by Homespun Seasonal Living. The E-course is designed to inspire and encourage you to live a life by own your hands, on your own terms, and in your own pace. You can learn more, download a sampler, and register for the course over at Homespun Seasonal Living.
About Kathie N. Lapcevic
Kathie is a freelance writer, teacher, and blogger living in northwest Montana with her soulmate Jeff. She lives a fiercely D.I.Y. lifestyle in harmony with the natural rhythms of nature. You can follow her blog at Homespun Seasonal Living.