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Saturday, July 5, 2014

longevity brandy and "elixir of the greek gods"

 Longevity Brandy

I have given this recipe to friends, served the drink to guests, and the result is always favorable. Everyone loves it. Once infused with these herbs, smooth brandy takes on a sweet, spicy headiness that dances on the tongue, compliments many foods or is fabulous as a cocktail alone, and energizes the drinker with a stable, mellow mood.

Eleuthero root, or Siberian ginseng, is an immune building herb. Rather than stimulating and exciting the immune system, like echinacea, taken regularly over time eleuthero builds its ability to perform efficiently and helps the body regulate responses to stress. Astragalus root, like echinacea, is an immune stimulant, which makes it unsuitable for those with immune disorders, but unlike echinacea is safe for long term use, as the body does not build resistance to it over time. Astragalus is also an energy booster and increases physical stamina. Wild yam root contains compounds that when consumed and digested provide the building blocks for steroids and hormones. It supports the glandular systems, and can help regulate healthy hormone function for a satisfying sex life in both men and women, according to several herbalists. When balanced with the sweet and warming flavors of ginger, cinnamon, star anise, and vanilla bean, these herbs make a solid foundation for maintaining a healthy libido and immune system.

As with any alcohol, don't abuse, and this is not for pregnant women. Due to the herb content, this is not recommended for exclusively nursing mamas, either, although is great for non-pregnant, non-nursing women, and men of all ages, in moderate quantities. I suggest serving 1/2 to 1 shot for a woman, and 1 to 2 shots for a man, up to several times a week. Serve this drink at the start of a hot date and give your evening an extra nudge in a favorable direction.

Add to jar in standard tincture measures of 2 oz total weight per quart: 

one 4 inch stick of cinnamon
3 star anise
1 vanilla bean pod, scored down the center to open it for flavor release
     (or 4 Tb vanilla essence)
1/3 oz eleuthero root
1/3 oz astragalus root
1/3 oz wild yam root
2/3 oz fresh ginger root or 1/3 oz dried ginger root pieces 

Cover it all in brandy, or in 2:1 brandy and vodka, 80 proof. Cap and let infuse for 2 full weeks, giving it a good hard shake daily.

By this point, the brandy should smell lovely. Add 5 whole dried apricots, recap, and let the tincture sit for another week.

Strain and reserve the brandy. Eat the apricots if you like. They taste delicious, but remember they will be plumped up with alcohol so enjoy slowly. Store the Longevity Brandy as you would a tincture, in a cool, dark cabinet for up to 3 years.

You have the option to add 1 part raw honey to 3 parts brandy to create a sweet liqueur. Just pour in the honey and shake until it dissolves. Serve the honeyed brandy by itself in small sipping glasses. The unsweetened Longevity Brandy is delicious poured over ice, with cranberry juice or the reserved syrup from home canned pears or peaches. Pop in a stemmed cherry or a fresh strawberry and this drink is what we have dubbed, "elixir of the Greek gods", due to the magic it seems to work on date nights!

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