Making a wine and berry cordial drink is simple!
Read on to learn everything you ever wondered about cordials, then use the recipe to handcraft your own wine berry cordial drink. I call it Fortified Wine.
This post contains affiliate links based on my personal experience with products that support a seasonal lifestyle. As an amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. I hope you find them useful.Jump to Recipe
What’s a cordial drink?
Cordial is a word with many meanings. It’s also associated with a bunch of other words with intricate and convoluted meanings.
Let’s get clear on what we’re talking about when we use the word cordial.Jump to Recipe
There’s cordial, then there’s cordial…
First off, cordial can be a sweet alcoholic drink. It can also be a kind way of greeting someone.
Sometimes cordials help us be cordial!
Cordial vs Liqueur
Cordials and liqueurs are both defined as sweet-flavored alcoholic drinks. When you do the research, there’s very little distinction between the words by definition. But, in usage, there’s a good bot of difference.
Makers of all sorts who like to craft boozy drinks will frequently make cordials. I’ve never heard someone adding fruit, vegetables, and/or herbs and spices to spirits to create a sweet-flavored alcoholic drink call it a liqueur.
In my experience, the word liqueur is used for commercially available cordials like Frangelica, Kahlua, or Rumchutta.
In my circles, cordials are handcrafted alcoholic drinks that are created from a spirit base flavored with fresh and local ingredients. The alcohol preserves the fruits and vegetables because unwanted bacteria and molds cannot grow in the media. Spirits, like vodka, brandy, and rum, extract flavor and nutrition from the flavoring ingredients. We often add a sugar syrup to the final product to give the elixer the perfect sipping quality.Jump to Recipe
Liquor vs Liqueur
Liquor often refers to hard spirits like vodka, gin, rum, brandy, and grain alcohol.
Liqueur, as mentioned above, refers to a flavored spirit, often sweetened, that can be enjoyed on its own or in cocktails.
Herbalists and Cordial Making
If you can make a basic herbal tincture, you are more than halfway to making tasty and nutritious cordials!
All my cordial making skills come from herbalists. I have participated in several cordial making workshops over the past decade, all by herbalists. These foundational herbal skills allow the kitchen witch to extract the medicinal qualities of the flavoring elements by extended soaking and mixing in an alcoholic base.
In those classes, I have learned about the healing properties of fruits like peaches, herbs like mugwort, and spices like cinnamon.
I’ve taken what I learned from these great teachers and used their methods to help me with my food preservation goals. Now, I teach cordial making from that perspective.
And, then there are squashes…
Eat.Live.Travel.Write offers this great lemon squash recipe as an example.
Confused about cordial drinks? Don’t be, let’s make one!
OK, now with the vocabulary nailed down, it’s time to make that wine and berry cordial I promised. This recipe takes one week, and is the perfect last-minute handcrafted gift!
Fortified Wine | A Wine and Berry Cordial Drink
Wine and Berry Cordial | Fortified Wine
- 2-quart mason jar with lid
- Hand strainer and cheesecloth
- Bottle for final product
- 1 bottle red table wine nothing fancy, Santa Julia Organic Cabernet works nice
- 1 cup each: blueberries, blackberries, raspberries can add strawberries, cherries, etc.
- 1 vanilla bean or, 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups unflavored brandy Christian Brothers is fine
- 1/2 cup simple syrup optional
- Combine all ingredients in your mason jar and let sit in a place out of direct sunlight for 1 week, up to 3 months. Adding the brandy raises the alcohol level to the point where mold or bacteria will not grow. Be sure to add the brandy or the cordial must cure in the refrigerator and be stored in the refrigerator after it is created. Shake or stir the concoction daily. Strain out the berries using cheesecloth and a strainer. Taste and amend with simple syrup (recipe card below) to taste. You can add more wine if the berry flavor is too strong.This cordial is reminiscent of Port wine and is quite potent. Drink moderately by a warm fire with friends and lovers.
A Simple Syrup Recipe for Your Wine and Berry Cordial
While you are at it, make botanical gin
Vodka, juniper berries and one of these seasonal recipes will bring you a handcrafted gin perfect for house parties or gift-giving. Be sure to bookmark the post and make a gin for each of the four seasons!
The Seasonal Living Framework
If you like thinking this way about your lifestyle choices, I invite you to explore the Seasonal Living Framework. It’s built upon four pillars: gardening, cooking, personal wellness, and activism.
There’s a party happening and we’re waiting for you to arrive!
We also gather over email once a week to focus on one specific garden, kitchen, or wellness topic in-depth, with lots of step-by-step how-to’s. The best way to jump into the email conversation is with the Seasonal Living Workbook, you can download it here and explore the seasonal living framework with an email course!
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