Summer days in these mountains mean many wonderful things – fireflies blinking in the dusk, sweet little songbirds chirping, frogs croaking, and one of my favorites – blackberry picking!
It has been a particularly rainy spring and summer and so even the often hard and sour wild blackberry brambles are covered in more deliciously sweet, fat berries than I’ve ever seen!
Every season, I get a small bit o’berries from the wild brambles in our yard, usually around a pint. I tend to get about a 1/4 cup each evening and throw them into a large tupperware to live in the freezer. Once I have enough to work with, I can make something! The side effect of freezing berries is that when they thaw, they will release more juice than fresh berries.
Besides my own yard, I know of some other places nearby where I can go and pick to my heart’s content and have enough for a gallon of wine or mead, or a few jars of jam. But now we are going to talk about a tradition that I follow every year of making blackberry cordial.
Like I’ve covered before, tinctures, elixirs, and cordials are easy to make! They are a wonderful method of bringing summertime to the cold winter nights. A little bit of blackberry cordial in a cup of hot tea or cider can make a bedtime nightcap extra special. I’m happy to share my basic blackberry cordial recipe with you all!
Take a jar and add your blackberries into it. Fill it up as much as you can.
Use a wooden spoon and smush the berries to release their juices.
Cover the smooshed berries with your choice of booze. I often use a good quality vodka, but a nice brandy works well with blackberries.
Close up your jar, label it, and put it aside for at least a month.
After a while, strain your booze! I like to use a wire strainer first, then a secondary strain with cheesecloth or a clean cotton rag.
Sweeten to taste, label, and store!
For sweetening, you can make a plain simple syrup (recipe here) or try this one if you have blackberries left over:
Blackberry Simple Syrup
Boil one cup of water with a handful or two of berries. Let it simmer for a bit, strain, and return the liquid to the pan.
Add two cups of sugar (or 1.5 cup of honey, or agave, or whatever you prefer!)
Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved and remove from heat.
Allow to cool down a bit before funneling into a clean glass bottle with a tight fitting lid.
Label and date your syrup and store it in the fridge!