Friday, November 20, 2009

Apricot Brandy

Thank god for Apricot Brandy! Because of my low spirits I needed some high spirits, so I entered the basement larder and decided it was time to see how the apricot brandy came out. I was scared; it had been a gamble back in the summer when we bought a bunch of beautiful apricots from our local orchard market. They were so perfect with their peachy blush and smooth skin. And there were so many! I decided to make brandied apricots using the easiest recipe in the Joy of Cooking. It's basically jamming as many apricots (or your selection of stone fruit) as you can into your jar, adding a copious amount of sugar and then topping with brandy. I used an inexpensive (read: cheap) brand; I think it was E&J. The fruit to sugar ratio is one pound of fruit to 1/2 cup of sugar. Then I wrapped them up in brown paper bags (fitting) and put them in the basement, every few weeks turning them a bit to let them mix up.

I really did this for the fruit but it ends up the alcohol is what I'm in love with. The apricots when ripe were just gorgeous, packed into the jar. I've been seeing some images around (Quince Brandy from Not Without Salt and the Times did a bit on brandied fruit recently, too, I'm sure there's many more), and they always look so lovely. Well, not surprisingly, when they are done the fruit are small and shriveled, and sometimes brown. Some of the apricots are still somewhat orange-y. They don't look like gift-giving material to the uninitiated, but let me tell you, there are worth their weight in gold. I might not give them away.

When poured into a snifter the scent of tangy apricot is mingled with sweet almond and it almost makes you swoon. I think I might have swooned. And then the syrupy liquid is on your tongue and it's got this fantastic complexity and depth, the high notes of citrus and fresh almond mingling with light floral and the heat of the brandy. It was really hard not to drink too much. And I think I may have done just that. But it's so heavenly. I just tasted it to remind me of the flavor (it's 9:20 a.m.) and it feels so good, warm in my heart.



  1. This is a beautiful and festive way to preserve apricots. There are so many great ways to serve this up. One of these days I'd like to make apricot brandy, maybe next year! :)

  2. You should! So easy and so worthwhile.

  3. sorry, i'm reading this blog a little late and i'm a super beginner.... but perhaps you will still read this comment and let me know whether you boiled the fruits before putting them in the jar?

    by the way, huge fan! love your work :-)

  4. I found this posting too after I read about it on the NYTimes. I'd love to make something like this for my family and my boyfriend's family. It sounds so good, but I have a family of worriers. Should I boil it to be safe?

  5. Lexi60 - Thanks for coming by! And thank you for the compliment!

    Re: your question, no boiling required before hand. I simply put the fruit in as it is.

    I hope you make some!

    Jadie - Thanks for visiting! I understand the worrying. To make your family feel better, you can boil the cans to make a seal. Simply make your prepared jars, seal them well, then submerge them in a low boil of water for fifteen minutes. Good luck!

  6. Did you need to peel the fruit first? I have a mess of peaches and was going to go that route. Just read the article in the NYTimes and knew exactly what I was going to do this weekend.

  7. BJ - I did not peel my apricots, and I think for the most part it's not necessary with this kind of procedure. But you certainly could if you wanted to. Though, I can't imagine why you would want to (ha ha! I'm lazy and hate peeling). Maybe do a few jars of both and find out what you like better, if'n you have so many peaches! Good luck!

    Take a look at this link:

    She processes hers in a water bath, which I didn't do and still don't think it's necessary, but it's a great recipe (and a great blog!).