These liqueurs are so much of the moment you will need to get out there very soon to gather your leaves and flowers. The Beech leaves need to be new and delicate, the May blossom fresh and well scented. Within a week it could be too late…the leaves could be too old and the flowers shrivelled and gone!
Those of you who have been on our Woodland courses will have tasted both these liqueurs. For those who haven’t the Beech Leaf Noyeau has a slightly nutty warming flavour that to me is reminiscent of Christmas and warming log fires. The May blossom Brandy starts off with a very floral taste but this mellows (don’t worry!) and becomes rich, velvety and almost chocolaty.
Beech Leaf Noyeau
This recipe was made popular by Richard Mabey in his book ‘Food for Free’
Our version is not quite as sweet
- 1ltr Gin
- 225g sugar
- 400ml water
- 100ml Brandy
Collect young, fresh beech leaves and strip them from the twigs. Half fill a large jar with the leaves and pour on the gin. Seal up the jar and put it in a cupboard for 3 weeks. After this time strain into a large, clean bowl and throw away the leaves. Heat the water and sugar in a pan to dissolve the sugar, add this to the bowl along with the brandy. Check the sweetness and bottle if it is as you like it, if not add more sugar syrup to taste.
May blossom Brandy
1 bottle of Brandy
1 pint vol of May (hawthorn) blossom
Make sure that your petals are free from bugs and put them into a large, clean jar or container with a lid. Add the brandy and give it a swish round. Now store the jar in a cool cupboard for 3 weeks swishing it round once a week. After this time strain the brandy through a fine sieve or muslin into a jug.
In a pan heat a cup full of water with a cup full of sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Now you can use this sugar syrup to sweeten the May Brandy. We suggest you add a bit at a time to the jug of brandy stirring and tasting until you think it is just right.
Store for 9 months before drinking as the flavour becomes mellow and almost chocolaty.