These recipes were all collected from the first two decades of the 20th century, and use a variety of different fruits — including cherries, raspberries, blackberries, redcurrants, oranges and peaches — to make varying amounts of what are essentially super-sweet alcoholic fruit concentrates.
Try one or more of these classic cordial recipes, and create yourself a rainbow of fruit flavor the old-fashioned way!
Get old-fashioned flavor from 16 classic cordial & liqueur recipes
A little liqueur goes a long way in cooking. Because these alcoholic beverages are very sweet, they should be added sparingly even to desserts, such as ice cream, whipped cream, whipped toppings, custards, puddings and cake frostings.
Cherry and orange-flavored liqueurs are especially good spooned over slightly-sweetened fresh or canned fruit. Fruit cordials may also be added sparingly to bastes for ham, pork, ducking and small game birds.
Note: White sugar may be used in place of loaf sugar in the recipes below.
1. Blackberry cordial recipe #1
Squeeze blackberries enough to make a quart of juice. Add to it a pound of loaf sugar and let it dissolve, beating it slowly. Add to it one teaspoonful each of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. Boil all together for 20 minutes.
On removing from the fire, add a wineglassful of brandy. Put in bottles and seal while hot. Use a teaspoonful for a glass of iced water.
2. Blackberry cordial #2
Half a gallon blackberry juice, two pounds white sugar, several sticks cinnamon, teaspoonful cloves, one of allspice tied in a very thin piece of muslin; put all on to boil for fifteen or twenty minutes.
When partly cool, add one pint good old whiskey and one pint old apple brandy. Shake together well, and seal your jug. This keeps for several years.
3. Blackberry liqueur
Take one quart of blackberry juice and one pound of sugar, add a tablespoonful each of cloves, allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and boil together for twenty minutes. Seal in sterilized jars.
4. Blackcurrant cordial
To every four quarts of black currants, picked from the stem and lightly bruised, add one gallon of the best whiskey; let it remain four months, shaking the jar occasionally; then drain off the liquor and strain; add three pounds of loaf sugar and a quarter of a pound of best cloves, slightly bruised; bottle well, and seal.
5. Cherry cordial
To six pounds of cherries, add three pounds of sugar and one gallon of whiskey. Shake the jar often for the first three weeks, then bottle.
6. Claret peach cordial
Combine one pound of peaches pared and cut up, one pound sugar powdered and sprinkled on them. Boil them for two hours until they are a rich syrup, then strain and add brandy to your taste and bottle it.
7. Cranberry cordial
Boil a large tablespoonful of cornmeal or oatmeal with a small piece of lemon peel in two quarts of water. Mash a cupful of cranberries and mix with a cupful of water. Add to the oatmeal with enough sugar to sweeten and boil gently for fifteen minutes. Strain and serve cold.
8. Dewberry cordial
Two quarts dewberry juice, one-pound loaf sugar, four grated nutmegs, quarter ounce ground cloves, quarter ounce ground allspice, quarter ounce ground cinnamon. Simmer all together for thirty minutes in a stew pan closely covered, to prevent evaporation.
Strain through a cloth when cold and add a pint of the best French brandy. Good old whiskey may be used for either in the absence of brandy.
9. Fruit cordial
Half pint black cherries, quarter pound ginger sliced, half ounce cinnamon, the same of cloves. Put these into a jug with proof spirit. Cork it, and let it stand till autumn. As blackberries, raspberries, or currants ripen, add them, always adding sufficient spirit to cover the fruit.
In autumn, pour off the spirit and cover the fruit with pure water, and let it remain a week or more. Then strain off and mix with the spirit. Sweeten to taste. You may add apple parings or pineapples, but the black cherry is the most important fruit.
10. Ginger and currant cordial
To one pound of picked currants, red or black, add one quart of whiskey, one ounce of bruised ginger; put in a stone jar and let it stand for twenty-four or thirty-six hours; strain through a flannel bag, and add half a pound of sugar; when it is all melted, bottle.
11. Lime juice cordial
Mix six pounds of sugar, two quarts of water, four ounces of citric acid, one half ounce boric acid. Dissolve over a slow fire. When cold, add sixty ounces refined lime juice, four ounces tincture of lemon peel, and enough water to make two gallons.
12. Orange liqueur
Infuse for a week in the sun the thin yellow peel of four Seville oranges and a pinch of saffron in three pints of pure spirit or the best gin. Then moisten a pound of lumps of sugar with as much water as they will quickly absorb, throwing them into the spirit bottle.
Let it stand a month longer in a warm place, then filter the liqueur from the peel and bottle it for use.
13. Plum cordial
This is an after-dinner favorite at “Chachau,” the famous old plantation near Charleston, South Carolina. Fill a jug with August “hog plums.” Pour over them the spirits, until the jug can hold no more.
Allow to remain for 2 or 3 months. Pour off carefully and strain through a coarse cloth. Sweeten to taste. Be careful that children do not get the plums left, as they are very intoxicating.
14. Quince cordial
Pare your quinces and scrape them to the core. Put all the scrapings into a tureen and see that there are no seeds among them. Let the scrapings remain covered in the tureen for two days; then put them into a linen bag and squeeze out all the juice. Measure it and mix it with an equal quantity of white brandy.
To each pint of the mixture add one-half pound of loaf sugar and a little cinnamon and cloves. Put it into a jug and let it infuse for two months. Drain it through blotting paper and then bottle it. This cordial improves with age and is excellent.
15. Red currant cordial
To two quarts of red currants, put one quart of whiskey; let it stand twenty-four hours, then bruise and strain through a flannel bag. To every two quarts of this liquor, add one pound of loaf sugar, and quarter of a pound of ginger well bruised and boiled; let the whole stand to settle, then strain or filter; bottle and cork, seal the corks tightly.
Note: It is an improvement to have half red raspberry juice if the flavor is liked. The above is fit for use in a month.
16. White currant cordial
To every quart of white currants bruised, add one quart of best whiskey, the rind of a fresh lemon pared very thin, let it stand for two days, then strain or filter. To the above add one pound of loaf sugar, quarter of an ounce of the best ginger, and juice of the lemon.
Bottle and seal; it will be fit for use in a month, and the longer it is kept the better it is.