Archive | Beverages

Spiced Elderberry Cordial

From: The Regal Elder Part II by Kristen Rasmussen Vasquez

This is quite different from the elderflower cordial you might have made a few months ago. (See Edible East Bay Summer 2016.) Elderberry cordial is a strong, thick alcoholic syrup, which has both medicinal and culinary applications. Some herbal practitioners suggest taking it regularly for cold and flu prevention, and while there is limited peer review, much anecdotal evidence suggests that the berries enhance immune response. Use it to top pancakes, or, as I particularly enjoy, with sparkling wine for an elderberry kir royale. Feel free to experiment with the spice blend, add other ingredients such as citrus peel and herbs, or keep the cordial simple by using only the berries.

1¼ cups dried elderberries or 2 cups fresh
1 cinnamon stick, crushed
1 star anise
About 3 cups brandy
Honey (or other sweetener like maple syrup) to taste

Place elderberries, cinnamon, and star anise into a clean quart-size glass jar. Add brandy to fill the jar and cover with a lid. Label the jar with contents and the date. Set aside in a cool, dark place for 3 to 4 weeks.

When berries have adequately macerated, strain cordial through cheesecloth over a large bowl.… Read More

Continue Reading

Classic Elderflower Cordial

From The Regal Elderflower by Kristen Rasmussen

Photo by Kristen Rasmussen

Photo by Kristen Rasmussen

Cordial—essentially flavored and diluted simple syrup—is the most common way to preserve this special summer forage. Enjoy in beverages from lemonade to champagne or drizzle over huckleberry pound cake or panna cotta.

Makes 1 liter

20 medium elderflower heads (about 2 to 3 inches across)
Grated zest of 2 lemons
Juice of 2 lemons
4 cups water
3½ cups sugar
1 teaspoon citric acid (an optional ingredient helpful in preserving the cordial)
A 1-liter bottle and cap or cork (or enough smaller bottles to accommodate 1 liter of liquid)

Clean the flowers as described above, then drain and place them in a large bowl together with the lemon zest. Bring the water to a boil and pour over the elderflowers and zest. Cover and leave overnight to infuse.

Prepare bottles and caps by washing with soapy water then plunging into boiling water for 5 minutes to sterilize and allowing them to air dry. (Corks should not be washed or soaked, so purchase clean new corks from a wine-supply company.)

Strain the liquid through cheesecloth and pour into a saucepan. Add the lemon juice and sugar. Heat gently to dissolve the sugar, then bring to a simmer and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.… Read More

Continue Reading

Fig Chai-Spiced Rum

From DIY Gifting, Season’s Steepings by Annelies Zijderveld

Illustrations by Jillian Schiavi

chai--spicesWarming spices scent the kitchen during the height of holiday baking season, so why not offer them in a spirited way. Golden-hued aged añejo rum provides a smooth foundation for this steeped spirit with its hint of deep, subtle sweetness from dried figs and kick of spice in the finish from masala chai. This spiced rum is a devilishly delicious spirit to sip, but try using it in a holiday take on a White Russian that omits the coffee liqueur. Or stir it up with ginger beer for a unique Dark and Stormy.

There are many masala (spice) chai (tea) blends on the market. Most have a hearty offering of cardamom, ginger, and cinnamon, and are likely to include star anise or black pepper, but spices used and concentration can vary, so look for one with complexity, where a single spice doesn’t dominate the flavor profile and the whole effect develops harmoniously on the palate. Keep in mind that the spices will intensify when infusing.

Note: Don’t toss those boozy figs when you’re done infusing. Chop them up and serve on a scoop of vanilla ice cream or bake them into a loaf of holiday bread.… Read More

Continue Reading

Earl Grey Vodka

From DIY Gifting, Season’s Steepings by Annelies Zijderveld

Illustration by Jillian Schiavi


Years ago, St. George Spirits collaborated with Numi Organic Tea on a tea-infused vodka. Here’s a way to bring them together again in a spirit the Earl Grey tea drinker can appreciate. Oil derived from bergamot orange skin gives Earl Grey tea its slightly bitter, smoky fruit flavor. Steep the tea for 1½ hours and you’ll have a pleasing sipping vodka with high bergamot notes and less tannin. The longer bergamontsteeping time called for in this recipe brews a tea-laced spirit ready to mix into a Lemon Drop or Vodka Collins.

2 Earl Grey tea bags (tags removed)
1 (750ml) bottle vodka

Toss the tea bags into a large 32-ounce glass jar and pour the vodka over them in a swirling motion. Seal the jar and place in a cool, dark cupboard for 24 hours. Remove the tea bags, pressing to extract all the liquid before discarding them. Pour the tea-steeped vodka into a glass bottle, then seal and store the bottle in your liquor cabinet.

Read More
Continue Reading


From Who invented the Martini? By Shanna Farrell and illustrated by Gary Handman

1 dash Angostura bitters
1.5 ounces Gold Puerto Rican rum
1.5 ounces aged Demerara rum
.75 ounce fresh lime juice
.5 ounce Donn’s mix (fresh grapefruit boiled with cinnamon syrup; find recipes online)
.5 ounce Falernum
1 teaspoon grenadine
6 drops Pernod
6 ounces crushed ice

Blend ingredients with ice, pour contents of blender into ice, add ice to fill glass, and garnish with a mint sprig.

Read More
Continue Reading