Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cumberland Brandy: The First Batch

If we cast our minds back to the late autumn of last year and think what was happening in the Millbrooker Towers' kitchen all those months ago, we might recall the beginnings of fermenting a gallon of Cumberland Brandy.

This was phase two of Mrs The Millbrooker and I attempting to maintain our cherished drinking habits without having to spend too much time negotiating terms with the bank manager.

I bottled the stuff in November, each bottle with a wee drappy o' "real" brandy to fortify it, and it's been quietly doing its thing since then.

Yesterday was "let's give it a shot" day.

There was a definite "pop" as I pulled the cork from the former 10 year-old tawny port bottle, the Cumberland B was obviously still a teeny bit lively; it had a very decent colour, though.There were three brave tasters in residence for this grand unveiling. Mrs The Millbrooker did the honours by taking the first ever sip of Millbrooker produced home made hooch...
...very closely followed by Dozybean...

...and only few seconds later, yours truly.

The verdict? Well, obviously I'm a bit biased, I made the stuff. But I'm really quite chuffed - it's a very decent port substitute. I have no measurable idea of its true alcohol content, but allowing for the spot of brandy and the wooziness after the second glass (oh, yes, we had seconds) I'd give a rough estimate at 16 or 17%.

It's not as sweet as a non vintage port, but has a nice depth of flavour and I reckon I'm going to need to make some more PDQ as well as probably laying a bottle to two down to see how it ages.

Perhaps I should put out a warning to film clubbers; the after-the-wine-has-run-out offer will be this stuff next time, and I'm not at all ashamed.

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