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phlip

Apricot Brandy: Apry, Etc.

121 posts in this topic

Luxardo, many of the French liqueur companies (Massenez, Mathilde, Briottet, Vedrenne...), and a few german liqueur firms, make apricot liqueurs ; but, none of them appear to currently export to the US.

I've seen the Maraska Apricot liqueur in the US. From the labelling, it appears to be artificially flavored.

It's too bad the folks at Clear Creek, or some other US distiller, can't be convinced to make an apricot liqueur.


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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The two drinks Jim made with the Apry were very good, especially the champagne one which was drier and excentuated the apricot scent. But after that Cup'o'booze and the last 1/3rd of Johnder's Sea Fizz he refused to finish :hmmm: I don't really remember much else.

Much experimenting needs to be done now that we have a bottle. If there are any ripe apricots at the farmers market though I may have to try making my own infusion just for comparison.


Edited by slkinsey (log)

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and the last 1/3rd of Johnder's Sea Fizz he refused to finish

Hey, all I know is I went to the restroom after consuming 5 drinks with slkinsey and at least 7/8th's of my sea fizz and when I came back the glass was gone.

I didn't refuse to drink it. :raz:

The apry drinks were good, but I think I need to try them when I am a little more uh, sober.

John


John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

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I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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...Dave Wondrich recommends a dry style of apricot brandy in at least one of his books.  Maybe we can get some brand recommendations out of him....

Here's what Dave wrote on the subject in the Hop Toad recipe at the Esquire Drinks Database:

.... It calls for Hungarian apricot brandy, and nothing else will do. In Hungary, they make the stuff by mashing up a mess of apricots, fermenting it, and running it through the still a couple times—yielding what the French would call an eau de vie. Delicately perfumed, smooth, and yet still a little bit fiery...In any case, what you're looking for is "Kecscemeti barack palinka," made by Zwack.

I can't help with the Kecscemeti Barack Palinka but the Pecsetes Barack Palinka (also by Zwack) can be had at both Sam's and Binny's in Chicago. The info at the US distributor's website leads me to believe the Pecsetes is a reasonable substitute. I have no complaints.

Kurt


“I like to keep a bottle of stimulant handy in case I see a snake--which I also keep handy.” ~W.C. Fields

The Handy Snake

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...Dave Wondrich recommends a dry style of apricot brandy in at least one of his books.  Maybe we can get some brand recommendations out of him....

Here's what Dave wrote on the subject in the Hop Toad recipe at the Esquire Drinks Database:

.... It calls for Hungarian apricot brandy, and nothing else will do. In Hungary, they make the stuff by mashing up a mess of apricots, fermenting it, and running it through the still a couple times—yielding what the French would call an eau de vie. Delicately perfumed, smooth, and yet still a little bit fiery...In any case, what you're looking for is "Kecscemeti barack palinka," made by Zwack.

I can't help with the Kecscemeti Barack Palinka but the Pecsetes Barack Palinka (also by Zwack) can be had at both Sam's and Binny's in Chicago. The info at the US distributor's website leads me to believe the Pecsetes is a reasonable substitute. I have no complaints.

Kurt

If what he's recommending is, as it sounds, an apricot eau de vie, will nothing else but the Hungarian really do? I know there are some German and Austrian distillers making apricot eau de vies, though they don't seem to be the most popular varieties (in fact I have a bottle 20 feet from me right now). Or is the Hungarian variety really nonpariel?

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Eau-de-vie is known as 'Brand' in Austria and Germany, and the Hungarian tradition and production is much the same. Many believe the best quality and variety of apricots grow in the Wachau valley in Upper Austria, so its no surprise that most of the award winning producers come from this region. Do a web search on Marillenbrand and you'll find a world of variety.

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A few points:

As far as I know, no, there is no comparable apricot liqueur to Brizard Apry available in the U.S. Pretty much every other brand I've ever tasted was between bad and revolting. It's a sad state of affairs.

Generally speaking, in the United States, you should approach purchasing any liqueur from Bols, Hiram Walker, Jaquin, Llords, Boulaine, or any other marque that seems to produce "one of every flavor" with extreme unease and trepidation. Brizard, despite their distribution problems, is the lone exception: not all are the best, but none are bad. (Note that we've never been able to get more than a fraction of Brizard's entire product line on these shores.) Bols makes decent liqueurs in the Netherlands for the European market, but those products have no relation to the products marketed as Bols in the USA, which are (cheaply and poorly) produced in Canada by a whisky conglomerate. When in doubt, if it seems too cheap to be good, it's probably not fit for consumption.

Regarding terminology: Alas, "Apricot brandy" can refer to either a liqueur (typically low proof, very sweet) or an eau de vie (typically spirit proof and bone dry).

"Apricot flavored brandy" only refers to a liqueur. In the USA, "apricot schnapps" is also a liqueur. Fruit liqueurs almost always have some color (there are a few exceptions). Few fruit liqueurs get above 60 proof, but it isn't out of the question. Fruit liqueurs generally smell and taste something like fruit-flavored candy.

Fruit eau de vies are almost always completely clear and color-less, tend to be spirit-strength (in the vicinity of 80 proof), tend to smell beautifully like the fruit they were distilled from, and tend to taste like wood.

Fruit eau de vies and fruit liqueurs cannot be substituted for each other in cocktails, nor can you produce a fruit liqueur by sweetening a fruit eau de vie.

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To further clarify the distinctions between these products, the TTB/ATF has three categories which must show on the label as:

1) Brandy

2) Flavored Brandy

3) Brandy Liqueur or Brandy Cordial

Producers can sometimes play around with the placement of these words, but the label must be clearly marked with one of these designations in order to be legal for sale in US.

The principal distinction between these is that #1 (Brandy) may not have more than 2.5% of flavorings/colorings/blending materials (sugar or wine) added, whereas #2 and #3 are allowed. So if it's sweet, it must be labelled as either Flavored Brandy or Brandy Liqueur or Brandy Cordial. Important to note that #1 "Brandy" may contain up to 2.5% of flavorings/colorings/blending materials and without any requirement to label as such. So that apricot brandy may contain some added sugar and 'natural' flavorings.

Unfortunately, eau-de-vie and Brandy share the same classification and labelling designation as "Brandy", so if you want a true 100% distillate, hope the product is labelled as such. In Austria, any brandy or "Brand" label must show the % distillate used.

As for flavor profile, the best eau-de-vie smells AND tastes like the best essence of the fresh fruit. The better european fruit liqueurs and schnaps are semi-sweet and can taste like fresh fruit - sometimes because they are made directly from real fruit. The lesser quality liqueurs and USA-style schnapps are much sweeter and can taste like candy - a consequence of using the same added flavorings and lots of sugar!

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So I guess the $10,000 question is:

In all the old classic cocktail recipes that called for

Apricot Brandy
what would it have been? A sweeter liquor based one, or a dryer eau-de-vie?

I am assuming the former.


John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

--

I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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So I guess the $10,000 question is:

In all the old classic cocktail recipes that called for

Apricot Brandy
what would it have been? A sweeter liquor based one, or a dryer eau-de-vie?

I am assuming the former.

The answer is that you cannot just assume. Most often, it will mean the liqueur, but there are notable exceptions that continue to derail people.

This problem has been exacerbated through clerical errors. Most recipe books are re-statements of recipes from earlier books. One author might erroneously assume that "Apricot brandy" meant the liqueur and rewrite a recipe a calling for "Apricot schnapps". Then a third author might re-state the second author's butchered recipe with different proportions that the third author finds more agreeable. Now you've got an old recipe that may or may not be good, a newer recipe that is almost assuredly undrinkable, and a newest recipe that might be at least okay. And they all have the same name. Happens all the time.

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To further clarify the distinctions between these products, the TTB/ATF has three categories which must show on the label as:

1) Brandy

2) Flavored Brandy

3) Brandy Liqueur or Brandy Cordial

Producers can sometimes play around with the placement of these words, but the label must be clearly marked with one of these designations in order to be legal for sale in US.

The principal distinction between these is that #1 (Brandy) may not have more than 2.5% of flavorings/colorings/blending materials (sugar or wine) added, whereas #2 and #3 are allowed.  So if it's sweet, it must be labelled as either Flavored Brandy or Brandy Liqueur or Brandy Cordial.  Important to note that #1 "Brandy" may contain up to 2.5% of flavorings/colorings/blending materials and without any requirement to label as such.    So that apricot brandy may contain some added sugar and 'natural' flavorings.

Interesting. What distinctions does the law draw between categories #2 (flavored brandy) and #3 (brandy liqueur or brandy cordial)?

As for flavor profile, the best eau-de-vie smells AND tastes like the best essence of the fresh fruit.  The better european fruit liqueurs and schnaps are semi-sweet and can taste like fresh fruit - sometimes because they are made directly from real fruit.  The lesser quality liqueurs and USA-style schnapps are much sweeter and can taste like candy - a consequence of using the same added flavorings and lots of sugar!

I've never encountered an unadulterated eau-de-vie that tastes like fresh fruit, and I cannot see how that would be possible. There's no way enough of those characteristics would survive the distillation process to produce that sensation. The nose, on the other hand, should be spectacular.

It's also worth noting that the better liqueurs tend to be at the higher end of the proof scale, although that is not a sign of quality, per se. Brizard's stuff tends to be 60 proof. I've noticed that herbal liqueurs seem to lend themselves better to high proof than the fruit liqueurs (witness absinthe or get).

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[...]

It's also worth noting that the better liqueurs tend to be at the higher end of the proof scale, although that is not a sign of quality, per se. Brizard's stuff tends to be 60 proof. I've noticed that herbal liqueurs seem to lend themselves better to high proof than the fruit liqueurs (witness absinthe or get).

get? Not familiar with that.

Yeah, at least with Kirsch vs. Cherry Brandy, most of the time it is safe to assume, if the recipe calls for cherry brandy it's calling for liqueur and if it calls for Kirsch it is the Eau de Vie. Though, I think the verdict is still out on which is supposed to be in the Singapore Sling.

Slightly off topic, is the Peach Brandy called for in the classic Georgia Julep meant to be the liqueur or Eau de Vie?

Oh, and also off topic, by way of exceptions, I have found sweetened plum eau de vie to be an OK substitution for Maraschino liqueur. Much closer than any cherry flavored brandy, anyway.


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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What distinctions does the law draw between categories #2 (flavored brandy) and #3 (brandy liqueur or brandy cordial)?

The TTB has a fairly good guide available for download that provides some insight: http://www.ttb.gov/spirits/chapter7.pdf While both #2 and #3 can have additive >2.5%, liqueurs elsewhere defined have sugar/sweetener greater than 2.5%, wheras the flavored may only be flavored in excess of 2.5%.

Unadulterated eau-de-vies that capture the fresh taste - they do exist but are wildly uneconomic for cocktails. Try the Reisetbauer line.

Perhaps like others I'd like to have control over the degree of sweetness. I'm wary to serve up insulin shock. :shock:

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I've never encountered an unadulterated eau-de-vie that tastes like fresh fruit, and I cannot see how that would be possible. There's no way enough of those characteristics would survive the distillation process to produce that sensation. The nose, on the other hand, should be spectacular.

I had, and mentioned in the eau-de-vie thread, an amazing pear eau de vie that tasted very much like fresh pears. I don't know the brand, though.

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get?  Not familiar with that.

....................

Slightly off topic, is the Peach Brandy called for in the classic Georgia Julep meant to be the liqueur or Eau de Vie?

"Get" is a French brand of creme de menthe that is to the category as Cointreau is to triple sec. It comes in white and green. I could not contemplate life without the white in my house, because that would mean life without Stingers. If you can call it life.

And yes, the peach brandy in the Georgia Julep was a barrel-aged peach eau-de-vie--completely irreplaceable. (Along with good Holland gin and Batavia arrack it's one of the triumvirate of vanished essential spirits of the Saloon Age, and the only one that is made nowhere in the world, to the best of my knowledge.) Rats.


aka David Wondrich

There are, according to recent statistics, 147 female bartenders in the United States. In the United Kingdom the barmaid is a feature of the wayside inn, and is a young woman of intelligence and rare sagacity. --The Syracuse Standard, 1895

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Ok, I give up looking for Apry, so I am trying to figure out how to make some.

Given apricots are out of season I figured I would try dry. I minced up 2 pounds of dried turkish apricots and added them to a jar with vodka to cover. I was planning on letting this sit for a week or two to flavor the vodka and then put the plumped up apricots into a rig in which I can squeeze the living crap out of them.

From this base I was going to add some sugar and maybe some other flavorings to bring it to something palatable.

I have no idea if this will work, but I figured it was worth a shot.

Doing some research I did find this -- looks pretty bizarre:

Apricot Brandy Mix


John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

--

I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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Better idea...why not just make your own apricot brandy? Thats what I did this past weekend...I made a large batch of apricot jam, saved the pits, and some flesh, tossed it in a jar with some sugar, let that sit for 30 mins, then added the brandy!

Simple, and so much better than the stuff you buy in stores!


"He who does not mind his belly, will hardly mind anything else."

- Samuel Johnson

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I haven't been able to find the Luxardo, but I find a place that has a really large selection of apricot flavored brandies/liquors.

I ordered a bottle of:

Maraska Apricot

A fine golden liqueur with the distinctive sweet taste of tree-ripened apricots. The juicy apricots, grown in Croatia are full of taste and characteristic aroma. This fragrant liqueur is an excellent accompaniment to cakes or other desserts at anytime. It is the traditional drink for ladies at weddings in former Yugoslavia.

and a bottle of:

Zwack Apricot Brandy Barack

One of the finest products of the Zwack House, its distinctive and characteristic taste became famous in many countries as early as the beginning of the twentieth century. The famous apricots that grow in the orchards around the town of Kecskemét, and the Zwack Company's know-how in the art of distilling come together to produce a truly delectable apricot eau de vie.

I ordered them from Here.


John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

--

I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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I've been seeing Apry regularly in liquor stores around the country. Haven't had a problem finding it at all. (I don't know if these are leftover bottles, or if Heaven Hill is distributing effectively.) I'm in NYC, so I'll let you know the next time I see it here--maybe the problem is particular to NY.

In LA, I found some unusual things at a downtown liquor store, among them an old bottle of apricot brandy (not eau-de-vie), made in Germany by Schladerer. Not manufactured any more as far as I could discover via internet research. Very sweet and very apricot-ty. Not to my taste alone on the rocks, but great in vintage cocktail recipes.

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I bought a bottle of Apry yesterday. When I got home, I poured a small glass, and it was not at all what I expected. No surprise it was viscous and sweet, but the predominant flavor was of almonds, the apricot pit rather than the flesh. Not necessarily a bad thing, but I think fruitier would have been more versatile.

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Ok, I have an update. I have been corresponding with a rep from Boisset and apparently this is the latest:

We do sell MB Apry in NYC but we have not been able to ship our distributor for over a year due to ther fact that MB Apry was not approved by the TTB. We finally received approve[sic] and believe it or not our distributor in NYC, Charmer just received 20 cases,  first time they have receive any Apry in over a year. That is why no one can find it in the states.

I will believe it when I see it.


John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

--

I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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Ok, I have an update.    I have been corresponding with a rep from Boisset and apparently this is the latest:
We do sell MB Apry in NYC but we have not been able to ship our distributor for over a year due to ther fact that MB Apry was not approved by the TTB. We finally received approve[sic] and believe it or not our distributor in NYC, Charmer just received 20 cases,  first time they have receive any Apry in over a year. That is why no one can find it in the states.

I will believe it when I see it.

Any word on the rest of the country?

I would hope once they are approved by the TTB, then it is a matter of re-supplying the existing Brizard distributors in other states. Or are there other approval processes they must go through?


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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