Cordials

Southern Comfort

Wal writes ...
    Cordials (liqueurs) and punches were popular in the U.S. Originally bourbon whiskey was quite rough, as demand did not allow for aging, and therfore invited additional flavoring.

    Southern Comfort was first made in New Orleans by the bartender named H.W. Huron in 1870. The taste is the result of bourbon whiskey, fruit and spice. The whiskey provides the tastes of caramel and vanilla. The fruit is peach with orange and some lemon. The spice seems to be just cinnamon. It comes in 38%abv and 50%abv strengths. Could one emulate the bartender Huron?
    • For 1 litre of bourbon whiskey you could experiment by macerating for 10 days and then straining:
    • 1-2g cinnamon
    • 3 strips of orange peel
    • 1 strip of lemon peel
    • 1-3 halved peaches
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • caramel coloring


    I came across Peach and Rose Petal Liqueur, from an 1830 cookbook:
    • 1 litre proof alcohol (40%abv).
    • 450g honey
    • 2-3 handfuls of scented rose petals
    • 12 peaches, halved, with pits, and a few pits broken open
    • Macerate for at least 2 weeks, then strain.
    The quantity of peaches seem excessive - 500g seems sufficient. The quantity of honey could be halved, at least initially.

    Peach Liqueur
    • 1 and 1/2 cups fresh peaches; peeled & sliced (another site suggests 750 g)
    • 2 cinnamon sticks
    • 1 and 1/2 cups sugar
    • 4 strips lemon peel
    • 3 whole cloves
    • 2 cups bourbon
    Crush peaches slightly. Place peaches and sugar in a saucepan and heat over low heat till sugar dissolves. Pour into a jar. Add spices and bourbon. Steep for 7 days. Strain and age for 1 month, then strain again and bottle.

    Peach Liqueur
    • 2 lb (900 g) fresh peaches; stemmed and washed
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 cup water
    • 1 tsp lemon zest
    • 1 tsp orange zest
    • 2 and 1/2 cups bourbon
    Make a sugar syrup. Cut peaches in half, remove stones and slice thin. Place peaches, stones and citrus zest in a clean 2 quart (2 l) jar. Pour syrup and bourbon over peaches. Steep for 2 weeks. Strain. Let stand for 2-3 weeks. Decant or filter into bottles.

    'Southern Comfort' originally was called 'Cuffs and Buttons' by the bartender H.R. Heron in the late 1800's. The 'Fish House Punch' recipe from the mid 1800's shows that peach flavored drinks were known and could have been the source of his inspiration.

    I don't know if the posted Peach Liqueur recipes are traditional in line with the 'Cuffs & Buttons', or are just imitating 'Southern Comfort'. You need to experiment. Here is another for comparison:

    Peach Liqueur
    • 12 medium yellow peaches
    • 4 lemon peel strips (no whites)
    • 1 cinnamon stick
    • 3 cups (750 ml) alcohol (Bourbon)
    • 1 cup sugar syrup (1 cup sugar, 1 cup water)
    Peel peaches and cut in quarters. Place in large wide mouthed jar. Combine other ingredients except sugar syrup and steep for 1-2 weeks, shaking occasionally. Strain fruit and filter. Add sugar syrup and age for 6 weeks.

    Peach Brandy
    • 4 cups fresh peaches peeled and sliced
    • 1 and 1/2 cups sugar
    • 750 ml brandy
    Place fruit in a large jar. Dissolve sugar in brandy and pour over fruit. Steep for 4-6 months. Strain.

    Fish House Punch (Original)
    • 3/4 lb (350 g) sugar
    • 2 l dark rum
    • 2 l water
    • 2 cups peach brandy
    • 1 l brandy
    • 1 l fresh lemon juice
    Dissolve sugar in water. Stir in lemon juice and add peach brandy, brandy and rum. Pour into a chilled punch bowl with a block of ice. Makes approx. 50 servings.

Dates & Raisins

USQUEBATH

(pronounced Oosùkeùbah -- Gaelic for "water of life")
  • 1 qt vodka
  • 1/2 cp sugar
  • 2 oz licorice
  • 4 oz raisins
  • 4 oz dates
  • 4 oz figs
  • 2 oz anise seed
  • 1/4 oz nutmeg (broken)
  • 1/4 oz cinnamon
  • 1/4 oz ginger
  • 0.065g musk (use musk essence)
  • 0.065g ambergris (not available these days)
Place all ingredients except musk, ambergreece, and sugar in 1 gallon jug. Cover with vodka. Let stand in a cool place for 10 days. Shake well twice a day. Strain into second container. Add sugar. Allow to clear. Sources: The Queens Closet Opened, W. M., 1655, p. 23

Wal offers a slightly different alternative ..
  • 1 litre brandy
  • 100g sun dried raisins
  • 7g cinnamon
  • 7g cloves
  • 7g nutmeg
  • 7g cardamon
  • saffron 3.5g (gives a yellow color)
  • 3 strips of Seville orange (bitter orange) peel
  • Macerate for 10 days, strain and add 1/2 cup raw sugar
As a whisky cordial (in pursuit of a Drambuie), he's found ..
  • 1 litre proof spirit
  • 250ml water
  • 2g cinnamon
  • 2g ginger
  • 2g coriander
  • 1g mace
  • 1g cloves
  • 1g cubeb
  • Macerate and redistill.
  • Steep in 250ml water for 12 hours the following:
  • 3.5g English saffron
  • 45g sun dried raisins
  • 35g dates
  • 20g liquorice
  • Strain and add to the above.
Wal writes ..
    Dates with a 70% sugar content are an ideal sugar source for the distiller. Early whisky recipes also used raisins, figs and dates for flavor and sweetness. 'Thibarine' is a Tunisian date liqueur and 'Tamara' is an Israeli date liqueur (tamar means date palm in Hebrew). Here is a basic recipe:

    Date Liqueur
    • 500g (1lb) chopped pitted dates
    • 500ml (2cups) neutral alcohol 40%bv
    • 125ml (1/2 cup) water (to dilute to liqueur strength)
    • 125g (1/2 cup) sugar (or honey)
    Macerate dates in alcohol for 10 days, strain, add sugar syrup to taste.

    Daniel Rogov, a writer on food and drink provided the ingredients (dates, crushed cumin & cardamon seeds) and the method (steep dates, some cooked, others raw together with cumin & crushed cardamon seeds in alcohol). I have modified the basic 'Date Liqueur' to resemble 'Thibarine'.

    Homemade Thibarine (Tunisian Date Liqueur)
    • 1 kg dates
    • 1 litre alcohol 40%bv
    • 1 tsp cumin seeds
    • 1 tsp crushed cardamon seeds
    • sugar or honey to taste
    Just cover 500 g of dates with water and bring to boil. Simmer lightly for 5 minutes to extract sugars (dates are 70% sugar). Cool. Steep raw and cooked dates and spices in alcohol for 10 days. Strain. Add sugar or honey to taste.

    There are many varieties of dates. Some are hard and lend themselves to boiling, while the soft varieties can be used raw. I have found that that the above quantity of dates gave enough sweetness without adding sugar.


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