14 September, 2014

How to Cask your Cordial

Please note that this is a parody post and not meant to be serious or informative. I didn't want to make another berry recipe and fall produce isn't quite ready yet here, so this is what I have for you this week instead of food instruction. A friend requested this post, so I decided to oblige.

It's always possible to drink your strawberry cordial directly after brewing (which is often very tempting!) but if you want to keep your cordial available and fresh to keep your spirits up in winter, casking is the best option. It ages the cordial nicely and keeps it from spoiling so you can open and enjoy the drink whenever you choose.

The best casks are made of solid oak wood, as they create a nice, deep flavor on their own. Regardless of your choice of wood, however, you must start by making it liquid tight. Fill the cask with water, topping off as necessary until the wood expands enough to stop leaking before emptying the water. At this point, you can either fill the cask directly or season it.

An additional layer of flavor can be added by seasoning the cask first. The most common choice of seasoning in Redwall is maple smoke. Fill the bottom of the cask with fist-sized chunks of smoldering maple. Cover a majority of the top of the cask to concentrate the fire -- don't cover the entire opening or you will smother the fire. After several minutes, carefully remove the cover. The fire will rapidly expand, charring the inside of the cask and leaving behind a strong, smoky flavor.

Once the cask is prepared, fill it with your cordial or other beverage, seal the cask, and place it horizontally into a holder. After a week, open the cask and top off the liquid, which will have absorbed slightly into the wood. It may be necessary to repeat this process once more, but after two weeks your cask of cordial should be ready for storage.

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