The Brewing Shed

How to make blackberry brandy. Or gin. Or vodka…

how to make blackberry brandy

There are few foraged foodstuffs more favourable to the DIY drinks maker than the blackberry. For the past few days Rich has been poring over cryptically written notes while sampling blackberry based wines from years gone by in order to deliver the finest hedgerow wine recipe he can muster.

Meanwhile, I’m turning my attention to liqueur.

You can make a top notch fruity booze by steeping blackberries in almost any spirit – gin, vodka, rum, whisky, horilka* will all do the trick – but the consensus among blackberry imbibers is that brandy works best.

Our blackberry brandy recipe
For every 70cl bottle of brandy you’ll need about 320g of blackberries and 160g of sugar. I’m happy to use the cheapest booze I can find – the brandy I bought yesterday was so cheap it came in a plastic bottle.

Put all ingredients into clean, sterilised jars with tight fitting lids and shake. Continue to agitate every day or two for a few weeks before reducing the shake frequency to weekly until you’re ready to strain and bottle. Ideally this would be after three months but it will taste perfectly acceptable a few weeks earlier. As with all fruit liqueurs, the bottled drink will continue to improve with age.

*A Ukrainian spirit commonly infused with a multitude of berries, including blackberries, in much the same way as described.

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Brew it Yourself Book

For more blackberry booze…

Like dunking fruit in booze? For more great recipes, including another blackberry infusion, check out our debut book ‘Brew it Yourself’. It features liqueurs, wines, beers, ciders and a whole load more. Available from most good book shops and Amazon.

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Want to get your hands on a free, professionally designed blackberry brandy label for your booze? To download yours, please click here

33 Comments

    • Hi Bernadette.
      Good stuff, huh?
      I strain mine through a fine sieve and then follow it up with a very slow straining through coffee filter paper. I guess some gauzes would do the trick.
      And yes, I eat the fruit afterwards. Give it a blast in a blender and pour over ice cream.
      Enjoy!

  • We live in south of France and my husbands bramble jelly has been given to masses of our French friends. Brambles (les mures) are usually quite small here but the flavour is excellent.. I have recentlystarted making sorbets and started with limoncello the Italian lemon liqueur. Easy and delicious. So would like to make bramble liqueur to put in bramble sorbet as well as making lots to give to friends with the sorbet recipe attached ….so they can eat or drink the contents. Off on a trip to Spain for the day tomorrow as it’s just over an hour away so can pick up the necessary booze. Love your site. Many thanks. Love the labels too.

    • Many thanks for your comments, Magadalen. Putting liqueurs into sorbets sounds like a fine idea. I’ve also been known to stir a drop or three into creme anglais.
      Glad you like the labels too… I’m thinking a limoncello label could be next on the list!

  • I followed your recipe last year using vodka brandy and rum- delicious and lethal! Just made first batch for 2014 – Cheers:)

    • Good stuff, eh? Make sure you save some for the long haul – it gets even better with age!
      Thanks for the feedback, much appreciated.

    • I think you’re going to have some very grateful gift recipients!
      It’ll make a bit more than the original volume of spirit. With 70cl of rum you should end up wit around 85cl of liqueur.

  • I have been making simple blackberry brandy for several years and am now thinking of experimenting by adding additional flavours (vanilla, cinnamon etc) any suggestions for what works best?

    • Hi Neil. When I try to think up new combinations I usually look to see what people are using in other recipes, such as jams, pies or squashes. I’ve not combined anything with blackberries before, but a quick google search using this method throws up peach, ginger, pear and, obviously, apple. Let me know what you decide upon and how it takes – fingers crossed you’ll create a winning recipe!

    • I’m trying a honey (instead of sugar) version at the moment. Smells good, there could well be some serious wreckage about later 😉 I find that picking into old washed milk cartons is best. If you want to wash the fruit, well help yourself. I find that the bugs tend not to be able to swim nor breathe under alcohol and the chunks are filtered out during bottling. yes I use the fruit afterwards, not dead yet!! What do you do with alcohol rubs at hospital?? But the milk cartons… 1, Don’t squash, 2, Don’t pierce on the thorns, retaining juice! 3 Can be used for the process, just pour in the sugar and brandy! Simples

    • Hi Maureen
      You can use frozen blackberries. The weight of fruit is a guide and doesn’t need to be exact so a similar amount of frozen berries will work just fine. Hope you enjoy it!

    • Hi Joe. No need to keep it in the fridge unless you want to serve it chilled. So long as it’s away from excessive heat and light it should be fine.
      Let us know how it tastes…

  • I found a recipe by chance today really similar to this and decided I’d make some for Christmas. I’m never satisfied with just one recipe so googled recipes but all bar the original and yours say to put the fruit and booze in a jar together then after a month or so filter and add the sugar, then age for another few months! Do you think there’s any benefit to doing these things separately? I like the idea of everything being in together until it’s time to drink but so many recipes follow the steps 1. steep 2. filter & add sugar 3. age.

    • The reasons for doing it one way or the other are all fairly minor so it’s down to personal preference. I usually combine the sugar with the fruit because you get lovely sweet boozy fruit to eat at the end of the infusion, and it’s one less stage to worry about (we’re lazy). An advantage of doing it later is you get more control over the level of sweetness. But the choice is all yours…

  • I’m following your recipe and it has been soaking away for about 8 weeks and smells great- is there any benefit from removing the fruit and sieving the juice out and re- adding to the liquor?
    Thanks
    Deborah

  • It is recommended to strain the fruit after three months, if the fruit was left for say six months is there any benefit in doing this. I am going to try and make a second use of the fruit after I have made my liqueur by making jam, would appreciate your comments.

    • You can leave the fruit for six months if you wish. In theory everything should mellow out and change over time so up to you how long you give it. Keep us posted…

  • I’m making my first batch at the moment. I can’t decide on two issues as different web sources conflict.
    1. I’ve read that if you don’t remove the blackberries after 2 months the liquor becomes tart? I would prefer a medium sweet liqueur so when do I sieve fruit out?
    2. The recipe I used is layered blackberries, sugar and topped with bottled water. Do I need to add brandy or will this ferment fine in time for this Xmas?

    Thanks

    • There is no fermentation involved in our recipe – it’s simply flavouring and sweetening a spirit with fruit and sugar to make a liqueur. You may leave the fruit in for as long as you wish with this recipe – wines, or other fermented alcohols, may be a different case. I’m not sure what your second recipe is making! Good luck…

  • Hi, I’ve been ‘Playing’ with home distillation, but as I’m both lazy & inpatient, decided to do an infusion as well. Our vines were overloaded this year, so I’ve got about 25lbs of berries in my freezer! Yay! I whipped it up on my own before I even thought about looking online but as it turns out I did it exactly the way 90% of people do it anyway. The thing that I’m perplexed about is that it seems to have gelled. Like if my proportions were slightly different, it actually would have become a jam. Smells fantastic, tastes even better but it is gelled for sure. I get that this is because of the pectin in the fruit, and berries are very heavy on pectin, but I’m curious if you’ve experienced this? I have every intention of still using it, just may be a slightly different way than I planned.

    • We’ve had pectin in ciders before (which looks odd but doesn’t affect the taste) but never in an infusion. Perhaps someone else reading this might have experienced similar?

  • I’m pleased to have found a branded litre of gin for £15 today. My blackberries have been patiently waiting in the freezer for this moment. We made sloe gin last year and though it was very drinkable (it does vaguely remind me of cough medicine) it wasn’t a patch on the Blackberry Gin made the year before (the recipe of which I have lost so was pleased to find yours – thanks). Picked our glut of blackberries directly on the Coast so am wondering if the sea air will be accounted in the final taste 🙂

    • We’ll be interested to see if the salty sea air makes an impact on your blackberry gin. Alcohol is good at extracting impurities from things so it certainly sounds better than using roadside blackberries.

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