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 a cup of sugar (or honey, or agave, or whatever you prefer!)
Let it come to a boil for one minute. Turn to low and let it simmer for a few minutes.
Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.
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!