If you've been reading here any time at all, you know I'm a big fan of fresh fruits and veg and really like going out to you pick places. I pick strawberries, peaches, corn, peas - and really, if it's out there, I'm probably going to pick it and make something from it.
This past summer, I picked an awful lot of peaches. I popped some, peeled and sliced, into the freezer- big mistake, I wish I had frozen many, many more, as they are all gone! - made peach butter, made peach and bourbon preserves, made a couple of peach pies, and then looked around for one last creation. I wanted to make a peach brandy of some kind, but I had two problems.
Problem the First - the two recipes I found that I liked called for things I didn't have in my house.
Problem the Second - the recipe I did have the stuff for - wasn't a complete recipe. It just - stopped.
So, I took that partial and made it my own.
I was really unsure as to if it might work. I've never made my own spirits before, but I thought, worst case scenario, I'd throw it all away. (I was really worried about making people sick, to be honest.)
Here's your list of ingredients.
- 2 Cups Sugar
- 2 Cups Water
- 4 Pounds Fresh Washed Peaches
- 1 Tablespoon Lemon Zest
- 3 Cups of 100 Proof Vodka
- 2 Cups of Brandy
Create your simple syrup - In a small pan, combine the water and sugar and heat on Medium-High, stirring regularly to prevent the sugar from burning until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool while you wash the peaches. Cut them in half, remove the stone and slice them thinly. I didn't peel them, and I don't think it matters, but if you have purchased chemically treated peaches, you may wish to do so - these weren't chemically treated.
Find a glass jar of your choosing. I ended up using a couple of really large Mason jars. Pack them full of peaches, leaving an inch or so at the top.
Combine the cooled simple syrup, the vodka, the brandy, the zest, and pour it into the jars. Make sure you fill the jars to the tops, covering all of the fruit. Shake it up really, really well - and then close the Mason jar tightly and stick it in the back of your pantry/cabinet/closet/wherever for a month. It needs to be in the dark during this month, but once a week, take the jars out and shake them.
At the end of a month, remove the jars from the dark closet. Open them up and strain the solids out. You can do this a couple of ways - with a strainer and then with coffee filters - or with cheesecloth, which was the way I did it. Be aware - it's very messy and time consuming. The fruit breaks down a lot and you will end up with a bunch of mush and what looks like sludge. Press as much liquid out of the fruit as you can with the back of a spoon. (This is a good time to dip your finger into the liquid and taste it - and make sure you don't die of food poisoning, haha. That's what I did, at any rate. It was delicious and I had no ill effects, but I figure that anything in 100 proof vodka is pretty well sanitized. I'm not a professional, nor do I play one on tv or the internet, so you do you.)
Rinse the jars and put the liquid back into them. You can, at this point, use the fruit for ice cream topping - delicious - or make a fruit crumble out of it, and I might not serve it to my kids but definitely would eat it all myself.
Let the jars rest in the dark for another month, and remove them and strain once again, to get the rest of the solids out. This step takes considerably less time than last month's straining, but it's really vital, as it gives you crystal clear liqueur.
Once it's totally strained, decant into smaller jars - I found great jars at Michael's that looked an awful lot like Starbucks Frappuccino jars - and label them. At this point, I put them back into the dark for another month - but I had time.
Then, get your friend to letter some labels because your handwriting looks like a 5 year old on caffeine and you want these jars to look good.
When you want to drink it, you can enjoy it solo, or mix it with the soda of your choice - Sprite, ginger ale, tonic, etc.
I gave out every jar I made, with only one remaining for me, and that one - a squat Mason Jar that was my leftover holder - is almost gone.
I gave it to two teachers, who asked for a second container three days later.
Let me know if you decide to make it!
(And if you have Pinterest, and you like this post, please feel free to pin it.:)