Interesting Cordial Combos?
A couple of friends of mine and I are in the Society for Creative Anachronism, SCA for short. In case you aren't familiar with the SCA, I'll introduce it to you in a similar way as someone summarized it here on CH years ago: One of the main draws (and certainly the most noticeable part) of the SCA is to don medieval-style armor (or at least a reasonable facsimile of it), meet other similarly dressed people out on a big field, and then beat each other with sticks. This is done for the purpose of recreating medieval combat. At the biggest events (called Wars), there can be hundreds of people on the field at the same time, quite possibly over a thousand (you try counting 'em!). It's unreal. There's no way to describe the spectacle of it; to call it a Renaissance Festival on steroids doesn't even come close. Anyway... on to my pressing question looking for some Chowhoundish creativity!
After a long day's battle at the Estrella War on the outskirts of Phoenix, there are a great many weary warriors in search of rejuvenation. Many of the various houses pride themselves on their sundry forms of liquid rejuvenation. It's easy enough to find the usual suspects like cherry, blackberry, and raspberry. We're all sitting around trying to figure out what to do for creative cordials that will get people to sit up, take notice, and absolutely BEG us to tell them how to make it. Well, at the very least, we'd like them to smile and say "Hey, this is really good!"
One challenge is that we would like to keep these at least a little thematic; tropical fruit as primary flavor is a definite no-go, which is especially maddening after some fond reminiscing of the heavenly pineapple-basil agua fresca I had at Cafe Poca Cosa in Tucson. Thankfully, for herbs and spices there is a good bit more creative license; if there's, say, lemongrass as a background flavor and someone asks what's in the cordial, we can always just smile sweetly and say it's a closely guarded recipe. I'm already thinking of doing a blackberry-sage cordial, what other combinations have you seen that my friends and I would swoon over?
I am making one from toasted walnuts / almonds and dried berries and fruit including apricots, raisins, and cranberries. I just did the first filtering and am letting it sit before the second filtering and sugar addition. So far it tastes great.
I am also doing one made from Saunf which is an Indian after dinner stomach settler made from mint/menthol sugar covered aniseed. So it's a mint/aniseed combo and is very interesting.
SCA has a branch here in Ann Arbor, MI! The blackberry sage sounds lovely. What about chamomile, vanilla-lavender or rose petal cordials? They would have a beautiful bouquet and are certainly not your run-of-the-mill flavors. Hit up Whole Foods... they have bulk organic flowers in their tea section. If you're up for some work, what about making a mead? That would be very appropriate. There's good resources on the 'net, and the ingredients are very basic... you would have to invest some time in producing it, however.
SCA is all over the US, and even around the world. At one point there was an SCA branch on the USS Nimitz!
Vanilla lavender sounds utterly delicious; I'll bet it would make for the ultimate nightcap. Uh oh, my cocktailian brain is already off running and I haven't even tasted the feature ingredient yet... I call it the Lavender Cow- Steamed milk, silver rum, vanilla lavender cordial, and oh, imagine how well you'll sleep! And thanks for mentioning the tea section at Whole Foods, I hadn't even thought of floral ingredients! Estrella War happens right in the middle of February, and what could possibly be more romantic than rose cordial on Valentine's Day?
Mead is definitely on my list of things to do once I have better space arrangements.