Apricot Brandy

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Brandy in snifter
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 gal. vodka
  • 1 1/2 lbs dried apricots

Put into a container with tight lid. For 7 days, turn upside down every 12 hours. Now remove the apricots and put them into a freezer bag and freeze.

Next batch: Use same apricots but only use 2 cups sugar. Follow same turn every 12 hours for 7 days. Remove the apricots and refreeze. For the 3rd time use the same apricots only this time use 4 cups sugar and follow the above. The apricots can now be thrown away.

History[edit]

Main article: Brandy

The origins of brandy are clearly tied to the development of distillation. Concentrated beverages were known in ancient Greece and Rome and may have a history going back to ancient Babylon. Brandy, as it is known today, first began to appear in the 12th century and became generally popular in the 14th century.

Initially wine was distilled as a preservation method and as a way to make the wine easier for merchants to transport. It was also thought that wine was originally distilled to lessen the tax which was assessed by volume. The intent was to add the water removed by distillation back to the brandy shortly before consumption. It was discovered that after having been stored in wooden casks, the resulting product had improved over the original distilled spirit. In addition to removing water, the distillation process leads to the formation and decomposition of numerous aroma compounds, fundamentally altering the composition of the distillate from its source. Non-volatile substances such as pigments, sugars, and salts remain behind in the still. As a result, the taste of the distillate may be quite unlike that of the original source.

As described in the 1728 edition of Cyclopaedia, the following method was used to distill brandy:[1]

A cucurbit was filled half full of the liquor from which brandy was to be drawn and then raised with a little fire until about one sixth part was distilled, or until that which falls into the receiver was entirely flammable. This liquor, distilled only once, was called spirit of wine or brandy. Purified by another distillation (or several more), this was then called spirit of wine rectified. The second distillation was made in Balneo mariae and in a glass cucurbit, and the liquor was distilled to about one half the quantity. This was further rectified—as long as the operator thought necessary—to produce brandy.

To shorten these several distillations, which were long and troublesome, a chemical instrument was invented that reduced them to a single distillation. To test the purity of the rectified spirit of wine, a portion was ignited. If the entire contents were consumed without leaving any impurity behind, then the liquor was good. Another, better test involved putting a little gunpowder in the bottom of the spirit. If the gunpowder took fire when the spirit was consumed, then the liquor was good.[2]

As most brandies are distilled from grapes, the regions of the world producing excellent brandies have roughly paralleled those areas producing grapes for viniculture. At the end of the 19th century, the western European market—and by extension their overseas empires—was dominated by French and Spanish brandies, and eastern Europe was dominated by brandies from the Black Sea region, including Bulgaria, the Crimea, and Georgia. In 1880, David Saradjishvili founded his Cognac Factory in Tbilisi, Georgia (then part of the Russian Empire) which was a crossroads for Turkish, Central Asian, and Persian trade-routes. Armenian and Georgian brandies (always called cognacs in the era) were considered some of the best in the world, often beating their French competitors at the International Expositions in Paris and Brussels in the early 1900s. The storehouses of the Romanov Court in St. Peters-burg were regarded as the largest collections of cognacs and wines in the world—much of it from the Transcaucasus region of Georgia. During the October Revolution of 1917, upon the storming of the Winter Palace, the Bolshevik Revolution actually paused for a week or so as the rioters engorged on the substantial stores of cognac and wines. The Russian market was always a huge brandy-consuming region, and while much of it was homegrown, much was imported. The patterns of bottles follow that of western European norm. Throughout the Soviet era, the production of brandy remained a source of pride for the communist regime, and they continued to produce some excellent varieties—most famously the Jubilee Brandies of 1967, 1977, and 1987. Remaining bottles of these productions are highly sought after, not simply for their quality, but for their historical significance.

Brandy serves a variety of culinary uses.

Variations[edit]

Sample Variations #1[edit]

Usage[edit]

  • Flavored brandy is added to desserts, including cake and pie toppings, to enhance their flavor.
  • Flavored brandy is commonly added to apple dishes.
  • Brandy is a common deglazing liquid that is used in making pan sauces for steak and other meat
  • Brandy is used to create a more intense flavor in some soups, notably onion soup.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc.. 2007. 
  2. ^ Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc.. 2007.