Will Supply Shortages Hurt Your Christmas Shopping? Not if You Make Apricot Brandy (and Apricots)
According to many news reports, everyone needs to shop early for their Christmas gifts because of "looming" supply shortages. Hmm. Well, won't that just create more shortages sooner? In November instead of December? How about starting now to make your own Christmas gifts? In this case, homemade Apricot Brandy. Yes, you could buy apricot brandy from a liquor store, but it will cost you dearly. Making your own is fast, easy, and requires little cooking. The apricot brandy makes a nice gift presented in glass jars--save the ones from spaghetti sauce--and tied with ribbons. The brandy is strong, and the apricots are quite boozy. Try the brandy in coffee or tea (no more than 1 tablespoon per cup). The brandied apricots also make a fancy and special dessert served atop vanilla ice cream, drizzled with a teaspoon of the brandy, and sprinkled with a teaspoon of chopped toasted almonds or pistachio nuts. You also can use the brandied apricots chopped up in a cake and the brandy in a glaze for your cake. Can't you drink the brandy "as is"? Of course, but it's quite potent, so, if you do, enjoy it in tiny glasses.
Apricot Brandy and Brandied Apricots – Makes 8+ Cups
4 cups of sugar
2 cups of water
32 ounces of dried apricots
6 cups of vodka (the cheap stuff from the bottom shelf is just fine)
Cinnamon sticks and cloves (optional, one cinnamon stick and a few cloves for each jar)
In a large saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil, stirring the mixture often. Reduce the heat and simmer the sugar and water for 5 minutes until the sugar is completely dissolved. Cool the sugar water. Place the apricots, and if you'd like to use them, the cinnamon sticks, in clean glass jars and divide the sugar syrup and vodka among them, stirring to blend everything. Cover the jars tightly and store them in a cool dark place for at least a month, turning or shaking the jars every week (if you remember). Before serving the liqueur, strain out the apricots. The brandy keeps at room temperature for months (mine's been aging for years) and even longer in the refrigerator.