Saturday, August 8, 2015

Blackberry Moonshine Experiment

It seems to be a pretty good year for blackberries at this little place here.  My volunteer patch next to the garden has produced a few quarts all ready, with more waiting to ripen to black.  The patches out in the woods have lots of berries on them too.  We've eaten a few quarts fresh as snack food, I've made a batch of blackberry jam out of another couple quarts.  With more still coming, I decided to go out on a limb and attempt to make my own blackberry 'moonshine' this year.

The idea goes back to a handful of years ago, when DH stopped in Gatlinburg on his way back to Michigan from a work road trip.  He discovered Ole Smoky moonshine and their free samples, then purchased a few pints to bring home.  One of those pints was blackberry moonshine.

I'd never had moonshine before, not being much for alcohol.  I didn't care for the White Lightning at all, too dry for me, even when mixed.  Can't stand drinking things that make me choke (such as a wine that is too dry).  I did, however, absolutely love the blackberry moonshine!  Strangely enough, if I drink moonshine I don't get sleepy, unlike when I have too much of other alcoholic things (I'm a real lightweight).

Anyway, when that pint was gone many many months later (I'm not much of a drinker; I can make a six pack last two months!), I began to ponder the possibility of making my own, since Tennessee is rather a far drive just to get another pint or two of the stuff.  I knew wines, liqueurs, cordials, and other beverages could be made with fruit.  So, why couldn't I somehow replicate the blackberry moonshine?  I just needed the proper alcohol for steeping the berries, and, of course, a good crop of homegrown 'organic' blackberries.

Well, this year's the year!  A Google search turned up numerous recipes for blackberry 'moonshine' (made with Everclear).  Most of them seemed to be identical.  So, when I was at the grocery store earlier this week, I picked up a bottle of Everclear. Then the next time I went to pick blackberries (I usually wait 2-3 days between pickings), I weighed out the necessary amount of berries, washed up a 1/2 gallon canning jar, poured in the Everclear, poured in the (washed and cleaned of bugs & other debris) berries, crushed the berries with a wooden spoon, and put a lid on the jar.

Now supposedly all I have to do is store the jar in a dark place (the 'booze cupboard' is appropriate), shake the jar every other day for three weeks, then strain out the berries, stir in a simple sugar syrup (a particular amount of water and granulated sugar heated together to boiling, then cooled to room temp),  and let that sit for another two weeks before sampling.

Easy enough.  We'll see how it turns out.  So far, I'm amazed at how purple it is all ready.

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