Cruising the High Seas with a Tot of Something Fruity

Planning some Christmas Recipes

I was going to give this post a Christmas heading, but it´s about fruit flavoured liqueurs, and who needs Christmas as an excuse to open a bottle and share with friends?!

Every year for the last few years, I have made a batch of orange flavoured liqueur (which is made from vodka as it´s virtually impossible to buy pure alcohol here).  It´s rather like Limoncello and the recipe comes from the BBC Good Food website.

I won´t reproduce it here, just click on the link above and you can see how easy it is to do.  And if you fancy a batch for Christmas to either drink at home or to put into pretty bottles as gifts…well, you still have time.

I have also now “tested” my Cherry Brandy which I made back in the summer.  Remember this?  Well, all I can say is “wow”!  I´m so pleased with how it has turned out and I know we´ll be enjoying it over the coming months. The cherries are amazing too and I am planning to serve a few this weekend with a citrus sponge cake and vanilla ice cream.

Digressing a little, Cherry Brandy always reminds me of my Great Aunt Joan, my darling Grandmother´s older sister.  Joan was a stout old spinster, a little gruff, but caring deep down as she dedicated her life to running children´s homes.  She spent her spare time entering competitions and must have been pretty good at it as she won things like holidays, cars and cruises.  My lucky grandmother was often chosen to accompany her on these little jaunts, and it was mostly good fun for them both.

I say mostly, because Aunt Joan was teetotal, and always frowned at anyone letting the smallest drop of alcohol pass their lips. My Grandmother, on the other hand, enjoyed a drink almost right up to her dying day aged 93 – she said it kept her young.  They were on a cruise on the QEII, when a young boy was taken ill with appendicitis and the Captain announced that the ship would turn back to the last port so that he could be operated on.  This would cause a delay of about 10 hours to their journey, and during this period the bars would be open free of charge to all guests.

My grandmother happily planned an afternoon of white wine drinking and sun bathing when Aunt Joan had a bit of a panic attack.  The already over worked Ship´s Doctor was called and prescribed a small glass of Cherry Brandy to calm Joan´s nerves.  As it was being “prescribed” rather than poured by a bar tender, Aunt Joan felt that this was acceptable.  It seems she took to keeping bottles of Cherry Brandy all over the place which she took frequent “nips” of as her “calming tonic”.  My grandmother was able to spend her afternoon as planned as Aunt Joan lay in her cabin dozing, happy and taking little sips of her Cherry Tonic.


43 thoughts on “Cruising the High Seas with a Tot of Something Fruity

  1. You know, Tanya, how much I love family stories and you’ve shared a good one. Having traveled with a number of friends, the first day or so can be a little strained, as we try to figure out the ways of each other. Aunt Joan’s panic attack was heaven-sent and I bet these 2 women had a wonderful time going forward. Thanks for sharing, Tanya..

    1. I think they always had a little giggle together – they were so different but they were sisters…and that´s enough in our family to keep the love and laughter going round! Travelling with friends and family can be very stressful…I always find a little tot of something helps oil the wheels of friendship!

  2. A lovely story and I love the picture of the glasses on Delia’s Christmas!! My great nana used to keep a bottle of gin & a bottle of holy water in her handbag!! She also used to always put sugar on her peas, your story just reminded me of her, thanks for that!!

    1. Gin…like the Queen Mother and she lived to a right old age! Must try the sugar on peas…in The Little House on the Prairie (Yes, I´m a HUGE fan!) they used to put sugar and ream on their tomatos!

  3. I love the story of your aunt’s prescribed remedy. An uncle of mine gave up his welsh chapel teetotalism when the doctor told him an occasional brandy would be good for his heart…and I’m sure it was! Your cherry brandy looks as though it will be a good remedy for anything. Sante!

  4. Loving this cherry brandy and your grandmother!! She knew how to live a nice long life!! I’ve made various vodka based drinks every holiday and except for my figs – which I won’t drink that brandy, I didn’t make anything and I’m so bumming now! Especially looking at yours! The cherry brandy would be so pretty and festive this time of year!!

    1. My grandmother would have loved this! You´ll have to share more of your vodka drinks 🙂 And you´re right, the cherry brandy is the right colour for this time of year…

  5. Loved the story of the cherry brandy. I have made it several times and like to put one of the cherries in the bottom of the cordial glass when serving guests.

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