It's fun and easy to make your own fruit-flavored brandies at home, and the results of your labor make welcome gifts at the holidays.
Peaches and cherries are excellent substitutes for the apricots. Feel free to add cinnamon sticks, star anise, or cardamom to create spicy versions if you like.
|1 1/4 pounds||ripe apricots (halved with pits reserved)|
|2 cups||fruity white wine (such as riesling or sauvignon blanc)|
|1||vanilla bean (split lengthwise)|
|1 1/2 cups||brandy or vodka|
Place the wine, sugar, and vanilla bean in a large non-reactive saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the apricots, pits, and the brandy or vodka, and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat, cover with a lid, and let the mixture cool to room temperature. Place the pan in a cool, dark place and let the fruit macerate for 3 to 5 days.
Strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve, discarding the solids. If the liquid is cloudy, strain it through several thicknesses of paper coffee filters or cheesecloth. Pour the liqueur into a clean bottle and close tightly. The brandy will keep for 6 months.