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How to make Cordials

Updated: May 22, 2022

What is a cordial?

Herb and fruit infused spirits, which are sweetened and enjoyed both for their medicinal qualities as well as their delicious flavors, scents, and intoxication pleasure. Cordials usually contain between 20-30% alcohol.

Steps to preparing a basic cordial (takes about 2-6 weeks)

  • Prepare your ingredients

  • Chop up fresh herbs, chop or grind dried herbs

  • Cut up fruit into small pieces

  • Select a container that is large enough for your herbs and alcohol.

  • Fill container ¾ full of fresh herbs and fruit, ½ full for dried.

  • Add alcohol of choice, covering herbs and fruit by at least 2 inches.

  • Shake frequently for 2-6 weeks in a cold, dark place.

  • Strain the cordial through a cheesecloth into another jar. For dried ingredients, squeeze the remaining alcohol out of the herbs. If using fresh fruit or herbs, don’t squeeze them. Fresh fruit contains water and particulate that will increase risk of the cordial fermenting.

  • Add sweetener, traditional cordials are sweet. Sugar and honey are good options, but you may experiment with other sweeteners. ¼-1/2 cup of sweetener is enough to sweeten a 1 qt jar of cordial. If you would like to decrease the alcohol content, a simple syrup can be made by using a 1:1 ration of sweetener to water and this can be added to your cordial.

Brandy is most commonly used because it adds warmth and balances spicy or pungent flavors

Vodka is clean and neutral and will allow the flavors of the fruit and herbs to shine through.

Port has a sweetness to it, which may reduce sweetener used. Port has a lower alcohol content, so dried herbs and fruit work well with it. It also results in a slightly less “intoxication” experience.

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