I was just tidying my apothecary, and while doing so, I re-discovered an experiment that I’d completely forgotten about…and boy, am I glad I did!
A month ago, I made a batch of blackberry mead from the last bit of the blackberries I picked and froze this past summer. After the berries and honey were bubbling happily in their bucket for a few days and the yeast was definitely healthy and ready to roll, I racked the fizzy liquid into a carboy to finish fermenting. That left behind a bucket full of blackberries to deal with…honey-soaked, fermenting, delicious purple berries. I couldn’t bear to throw them out!
So I did what I do with many things I can’t stand to throw out. I put them in a jar so I can make a cordial out of them!
The berries and the actively fermenting honey must were poured into the jar. There was a chance that they might continue fermenting in the jar, and that could lead to exploding jars! To try and stop the fermentation process, I added booze. Instead of my usual addition of vodka, I chose brandy this time.
But…and this is ever one of my weaknesses…I didn’t date or label the jar well. The label that I applied to the jar just said “blackberries with honey.” No date. No description of booze. Nothing useful.
When I found the jar today, I opened it up. It smelled really, really good! There was no mold, no bubbles…it was still and quiet, just like a tincture/cordial should be. Then I took a sip. Delicious! The blackberry flavor fairly danced on my tongue!
Then I set the jar down and it transformed from the placid liquid into a tempest of purple foam! It fizzed like crazy over the edge of the jar, like a soda that’s been shaken up, or a homebrew beer that was opened too early!
Confused, delighted, and giggling all the while, I poured the fizzing blackberry deliciousness into a new bottle and tried to figure out what in the world just happened…
The best I can figure, the berries and honey continued to ferment under the protective layer of booze. Once I tilted the jar and tried a sip, oxygen hit the fermenting must and poof! Fizz!
One way or another, we just earned a surprise bottle of “sparkling blackberry fortified wine” – aka Blackberry Fizz: the most delicious accident I’ve ever made!