Sir Walter’s Cordial Water

When actively following the directions for A Cordial Water of Sir Walter Raleigh (A Queens Delight in The Art of Preserving, Conserving and Candying, 1671 by a WM *****) one realizes that it is a LOT of strawberries.

“Take a gallon of Strawberries, and put them into a pint of Aqua vitæ, let them stand for four or five days, strain them gently out, and sweeten the water as you please with fine Sugar; or else with perfume.”

And now I’ve moved from being a small batch beverage recreator to a REALLY small batch beverage recreator.

This recipe doesn’t seem right. But Ima gunna follow it to the letter, bottle the result and then do a second infusion with the (massive) quantity of berries that it uses. 

Because it wants a gallon of berries. A GALLON. To ONE PINT of aquavite. And even with imperial measurements (which I’m using, of course) it’s kind of insane.

I mean, I read that as an 8:1 ratio of berries to liquid. I’m doing 2.4 US cups of strawberries to 1/3 cup liquor.

But here we go anyway.

These are the strawberries. They came from my mother’s garden. They are small, very sweet, and smell amazing. Even these were somewhat of a sacrifice.
Strawberries and the amount of brandy called for in this recipe – 1/8 the volume of the berries. (It looks like more in the image but it’s close.)
There’s the 8:1 ratio of berries to liquid.

My berries are home-grown from my mother’s garden – they’re small and I’m not willing to sacrifice a whole gallon (like, the whole pick is less than a gallon!) of them, which is why I reduced the quantities so much — I went to the largest amount I could really spare of such precious and hard-won things.

Commercial berries would have a very different flavor I think – these smell like field berries even though they’re cultivated.

This was paneled at the Great Northeastern War July 2015 and  had a score of 73.