Brandy is made by distilling grape wine. Fruit brandies are made by distilling fruits other than grapes, such as elderberry brandy. Elderberry brandy is typically a clear 80- to 90-proof spirit. This simple distillation process works by vaporising the alcohol and separating it from the wine. That vaporised alcohol is brandy. You can easily make your very own elderberry brandy from wine using common items you are likely to already have in your kitchen. For best results and for your safety, make sure that any glass utensils that you use to prepare your elderberry brandy are heatproof.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Large lobster pot
- 1-qt. heatproof glass bowl
- Large heatproof bowl, big enough to cover the lobster pot
- Elderberry wine
- Lemon juice
- Glass jar with tight-fitting lid
Place the lobster pot on the stove, and set the 1-qt. heatproof glass bowl in the middle of it.
Pour the wine into the pot. Don't put any in the bowl. Cover the pot with a large heatproof bowl, and fill the bowl with ice. A glass bowl is best, because it will allow you to observe the progress of your distilling elderberry brandy.
Turn the stove on and set it to the lowest possible temperature, because alcohol vaporises at low temperatures and doesn't need to get as hot as water does to evaporate. As the wine begins to heat, the alcohol will begin to vaporise and rise to the top of the lobster pot. This vaporising alcohol is brandy. The large bowl of ice will not only prevent the escape of the vapour, but will cool it, as well. As the alcohol vapours are caught by the bottom of the ice-filled bowl, the low temperature of the ice makes them condense back to liquid form. Then gravity takes over and forces the liquid to flow downward to the low point of the bowl. The pure brandy then drips into the glass bowl inside the pot.
Continue distilling the wine into brandy for an hour. At that point, all of the alcohol will have vaporised from the wine.
Remove the large bowl from the top of the lobster pot and empty the melted ice from it. Take the bowl of elderberry brandy out of the pot and cover it to prevent the hot alcohol from evaporating. Allow it to cool until it's lukewarm.
Set the covered bowl of brandy in the large bowl. Make an ice water bath in the large bowl to complete the cooling of the brandy. Stir ¼ tsp lemon juice into the cooled brandy.
Store the elderberry brandy in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid.
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