Jams, preserves, jellies and juices are not the only forms under which the flavor and aroma of now plentiful fruit can be preserved. Consider eaux-de-vie, liqueurs and vodkas.Making them for one's own use is perfectly legal if a tax paid alcohol is used, and no distillation step is involved in the process.
Preparation is much simple than the making or beers and wines; no special equipment is necessary, and the results are uniformly satisfying if ripe, good quality fruit is used. After that they only danger to the quality of the product may come from the natural impatience to sample the fruits of one's labors before a proper (and duly given) aging time has elapsed.
For best results use as pure and as soft water as possible. When using ordinary tap water, boil it for several minutes. Cool completely before using. The alcohol used in the recipes is the pure grain alcohol USP (95 per cent), readily available at liquor stores in the area.All fruit must be cleaned and washed before use. MOCK COGNAC
(Makes about 2 quarts) 1 quart alcohol 1 quart water 5 ounces good quality prunes
Mix alcohol and water. Soak the prunes in the mixture for four weeks. Filter the infusion through filter paper, pour into bottles, cork, and age for at least one year. The similarity to real cognac will surprise even experts. APRICOT EAU-DE-VIE
(Makes about 2 quarts) 1 pound apricots 1 pound sugar 3 cups water 1 quart alcohol
Halve the apricots. Remove and crush the pits. Boil the sugar with 1 cup of water, add the apricots and pits, boil up, and let stand for 24 hours. Drain the juice through a fine sieve or a piece of cheesecloth. Mix the juice with alcohol and 2 cups of water, pour into bottles, cork, and age for at least three months. The fruit remaining from the preparation of the juice may be used for making preserves. PLUM EAU-DE-VIE
(SLIVOVITZ) 1 pound plums (blue) 1 pint water 1 quart alcohol
Halve the plums and remove pits. Crush 3 or 4 pits. Dilute alcohol with water. Soak the crushed pits and the plums in diluted alcohol, covered, for four weeks. Filter the infusion through filter paper, bottle, cork, and age for at least year. Quality of the drink will continue to improve with longer aging. MIXED FRUIT EAU-DE-VIE Cherries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, etc. Alcohol Sugar
Place the fruit (pitted where necessary) in a demijohn or stoneware crock. Cover with alcohol to a depth of 1 finger. Add sugar in proportion of 1 pound to each quart of alcohol. Keep adding the fruit as it becomes available, covering it with alcohol and sugar as above, until the container is full. Stopper tightly and let stand for six months. After six months decant the eau-de-vie and bottle it.Cover the fruit in the demijohn with a second lot of alcohol, stopper and infuse for another six months. The second eau-de-vie will be of slightly lower quality, but will be drier. Decant the second infusion, add water to the fruit, add a little sugar, and allow to stand uncovered for a few months to obtain superb vinegar. RATFIA
(Makes about 1 1/2 quarts) 4 pounds sweet cherries 1 1/2 inch piece of vanilla bean 1 1/2 inch piece of cinnamon stick 10 cloves 1 quart alcohol 1 pound sugar
Pit the cherries. Place them in a demijohn or stoneware crock together with the remaining ingredients. Stopper tightly, and age in a cool, dark place for one year. Strain and bottle. ORANGE VODKA Peel of two oranges 1 quart alcohol 2 cups water 1 pound sugar
Remove the white from the orange peel and discard. Add the yeallow portion to the alcohol. Boil the sugar in water to a syrup, cool and stir into the alcohol. Cover tightly, and let stand for four days in a cool, dark place. Filter through a filter paper, bottle and cork. The vodka can be used immediately. Infusing the orange peel for more than four days will impart a bitter taste to the vodka.