Cordials are classy. They are designed to be savored. As an herbalist, I love experimenting with different flavor profiles that commercial cordial makers wouldn’t ordinarily risk. The unique nature of handmade cordials make them a coveted holiday gift.
This cordial evolved from an abundance of Bee Balm (Monarda fistulosa). I was startled by, despite my friend’s warning, how easy it was to grow. I cut the flower heads and dried them. Some were made into tincture. Some were added to teas. I still had a bunch more left and I knew the color would fade quickly.
The flavor of Bee Balm is a tough one to match. I tried it with other mints with nominal success. I glanced at my herb shelf hoping for inspiration. There sat a lonely bottle of hibiscus. Hibiscus is a lovely color but it’s tart flavor also makes it tough to pair. I shrugged and stuck the 2 ornery flavor roommates together in a jar with some brandy and sweetened it with citrus. Tangerine Dream Cordial was born.
- 1/2 cup dried hibiscus flowers
- 1/2 cups dried bee balm flowers
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup tangerine slices
- 6 cups brandy
- Add all the ingredients to a large jar (2 quarts or bigger).
- Screw-on the lid tightly.
- Label jar with the name of recipe and date batch is started.
- Shake the jar vigorously and place in a temperature-controlled area away from light.
- Shake the jar every day.
- At the end of 1 week, strain the ingredients through a cheesecloth.
- Let the remaining liquid sit in a covered container overnight.
- Bottle your Tangerine Dream Cordial and enjoy!
Storage and Use
Cordials are best consumed within the first year of making them. This cordial should be strained in the first week or 2 or it will get musty in flavor and cloudy in color. Store the finished cordial away from light, in a cool dark place.
Mix with club soda or fruit juices. Try just an ounce or two over ice. Refreshing!