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You can make your own 'Orujo de Hierbas'?!

simply B

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
somewhere between "not enough" and "way too many"
Well, apparently so.....


Not able to get on Camino until, whenever, I find myself missing this. Since I am not able to access plain orujo, I am using a base of "7x distilled" vodka which is very clean though neutral in flavor...it lacks the "woody/smoky" notes of the clear Galician local product. I'll probably throw in a couple of toasted oak chips to the 1 liter batch for aging.

My first batch is a couple days in and I am encouraged by daily testings. More than likely, it will not make it to 10 days as given in the recipe before straining - - it is picking up color and flavor rather rapidly. And I am probably going to do the syrup addition in stages to get close to the desired target. I do not remember the 'good stuff' as being overly sweet.

For people in the N. Hemisphere, right now might be the last time for several months to access some of the "fresh" ingredients. But then, perhaps I just live in a small town with less fresh choices in the Fall and Winter months. Other folks may have more choices and less urgency.

@nalod.... if you are still checking in here? Perhaps you will remember me from our enthusiastic sampling of the product in question and wonderful discussions back in early March 2016 in the salon of Hospedería San Martín Pinario. (We shut the place down that night...and yet remained on good terms with all the staff.😃)

B
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Currently on a "Virtual" Camino and striding out across Castile y Leon!
During a lockdown "stock take" I found I have two litre bottles of Orjuo de Hierbas and one of Orujo de Miel. I always bring home a bottle of it and another of Pacharan. The Orujo tends to linger though - it really is a "spirit of place" and doesn't taste quite the same in damp England as it did atop a Spanish mountain.

1598429532862.jpeg
 

Pelegrin

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo June 2013
SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016
The orujo area in Spain is Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria, Leon and Zamora. In the rest the orujo de hierbas (which is a Galician drink) is now popular as dessert but for no more than 40 years more or less.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Currently on a "Virtual" Camino and striding out across Castile y Leon!
We once owned a holiday home in the Charente-Maritime region of France (Cognac) and it was a pre-holiday ritual for my young daughters to choose a large tin of "English" biscuits (usually Scottish shortbread) for our neighbours which gave them free reign whenever offered sweets by Monsieur et Madame.

On one visit I joked about the local wines being poor but the cognac was excellent (he was semi-retired but still kept up his little vineyard and vegetable garden)
"You like cognac?"
"Of course!"

He shuffled off and came back with a dumpy bottle, four shot glasses and a box of sugar cubes. His wife indicated to mine that you dunk a sugar cube in the drink and pop it into your mouth but it was too strong for her so I ended up with two (large) shots.

My word, I've never tasted anything like it before:
<<Fabriqué en 1968, épreuve à 68%, vieilli en fûts de chêne, non dilué, sans caramel ajouté>> (made in 1968 - it was 1993 by then - 68% proof, aged in oak casks, not watered down, no caramel added)

I went to turn the bottle to see where this nectar was made but M. Mormiche shook a finger and then pointed to himself: <<Je l'ai fait!>> and beckoned us out to the barn. There was his "alambrique" a stone oven with a leaded customs seal on the iron door, the big copper "onion" on top and the condensing coils.

My recollections of what followed are a bit hazy but apparently my French was very fluent and if I'm right he indicated a barrel in the corner of the barn - the last of a batch his father had made in 1945 to celebrate Liberation.

They popped around to us for coffee and English Cake the next week and it was his habit to bring a bottle of his home made (very good) wine with him. This time, after they left, I opened the bag to find a bottle of cognac instead!

I'm not a big drinker and still have half of the bottle left, afraid to sip in case it hasn't aged well - but then it is 52 years old!
 

malingerer

samarkand
Camino(s) past & future
cf (2), de la plata, cp. (2003 -2018)
We once owned a holiday home in the Charente-Maritime region of France (Cognac) and it was a pre-holiday ritual for my young daughters to choose a large tin of "English" biscuits (usually Scottish shortbread) for our neighbours which gave them free reign whenever offered sweets by Monsieur et Madame.

On one visit I joked about the local wines being poor but the cognac was excellent (he was semi-retired but still kept up his little vineyard and vegetable garden)
"You like cognac?"
"Of course!"

He shuffled off and came back with a dumpy bottle, four shot glasses and a box of sugar cubes. His wife indicated to mine that you dunk a sugar cube in the drink and pop it into your mouth but it was too strong for her so I ended up with two (large) shots.

My word, I've never tasted anything like it before:
<<Fabriqué en 1968, épreuve à 68%, vieilli en fûts de chêne, non dilué, sans caramel ajouté>> (made in 1968 - it was 1993 by then - 68% proof, aged in oak casks, not watered down, no caramel added)

I went to turn the bottle to see where this nectar was made but M. Mormiche shook a finger and then pointed to himself: <<Je l'ai fait!>> and beckoned us out to the barn. There was his "alambrique" a stone oven with a leaded customs seal on the iron door, the big copper "onion" on top and the condensing coils.

My recollections of what followed are a bit hazy but apparently my French was very fluent and if I'm right he indicated a barrel in the corner of the barn - the last of a batch his father had made in 1945 to celebrate Liberation.

They popped around to us for coffee and English Cake the next week and it was his habit to bring a bottle of his home made (very good) wine with him. This time, after they left, I opened the bag to find a bottle of cognac instead!

I'm not a big drinker and still have half of the bottle left, afraid to sip in case it hasn't aged well - but then it is 52 years old!
Sir! I am in awe! As a maker of mead with a secret ingredient added I consumed a fair amount of orujo con hierbe with a great deal of glee when on camino! I never thought abut making it! As to Cognac, I preferred Calvados. If only I could afford a still I am afraid my loft might be the subject of a dawn raid by the Excise Men! I would of course have to make black powder for the blunderbuss with which to fend them off! :)

Samarkand.
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
During a lockdown "stock take" I found I have two litre bottles of Orjuo de Hierbas and one of Orujo de Miel. I always bring home a bottle of it and another of Pacharan. The Orujo tends to linger though - it really is a "spirit of place" and doesn't taste quite the same in damp England as it did atop a Spanish mountain.

View attachment 81690
I accumulate part bottles of local spirits and liqueurs which tasted like the nectar of the gods in their own terroir, but like furniture polish back in Cumbria. I recall splitting a bottle of ouzo with a Greek colleague whilst lunching off fish on a salonican quayside. An identical bottle here languished three-quarters full. Likewise a bottle of bison-grass vodka.

The solution presents itself annually in the form of Christmas and my wife’s family who will drink anything with some lemonade added and declare ‘ it makes a nice drink, does that’.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Currently on a "Virtual" Camino and striding out across Castile y Leon!
Sir! I am in awe! As a maker of mead with a secret ingredient added I consumed a fair amount of orujo con hierbe with a great deal of glee when on camino! I never thought abut making it! As to Cognac, I preferred Calvados. If only I could afford a still I am afraid my loft might be the subject of a dawn raid by the Excise Men! I would of course have to make black powder for the blunderbuss with which to fend them off! :)

Samarkand.
One of my uncles warned me off Calva having been plied with copious quantities of it by the locals as he passed through in the summer of '44. He and his mates were told it was made from apples, they assumed it was cider . . .
 

malingerer

samarkand
Camino(s) past & future
cf (2), de la plata, cp. (2003 -2018)
One of my uncles warned me off Calva having been plied with copious quantities of it by the locals as he passed through in the summer of '44. He and his mates were told it was made from apples, they assumed it was cider . . .
my dear daddy made some wicked brews in his time! Notably when in 8th Army and being chased up and down by Rommel! The ingenuity of the average soldier in making moonshine under adverse conditions is breathtaking and I make no mention of my own! :) Oruba at O'Cebreiro was a somewhat secretive affair with dusty bottles being furtively pass up from under the counter! That was years ago however and I didn't bother to ask why! Something else to make me grin and think of Camino. :)

Samarkand
 
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-SJPDP 2014, VDLP 2014,
Arles-SDC 2015, Lisbon-SDC 2017, Part Ruta de la Lana 2019, VDLP 2019
Lockdown and Covid 19 seem a pretty good excuse for some home made hooch. I expect some clever member can tell us how to set up a still. Not that I am suggesting anything illegal....
A still in Oz? It's legal to have one in NZ, along with about four other countries world-wide, most of them disreputable.
 

simply B

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
somewhere between "not enough" and "way too many"
Lockdown and Covid 19 seem a pretty good excuse for some home made hooch. I expect some clever member can tell us how to set up a still. Not that I am suggesting anything illegal....
Kanga -

Plenty of resources on the Interwebz in this regard BUT:

- You need to check national law to see if the act of production is legal.

- If you wish to proceed, stick with designs in either copper or stainless steel if you seek a safely consumable product. There should be no exposure of the distilled goods to lead, aluminum, or tin-based compounds or solders.

- Do not not get greedy for "yield"...there are at least two "tailings" you need to dump to other uses. (Engine de-greasing at the first tailing of methanol. Personal hygiene for the second tailing of isopropyl alcohol - hand sanitizer?) Be satisfied with 90-100 proof (45-50% ABV) final product strength.

- It's a big topic with plenty of room for exploration but one needs to explore with caution.


@Jeff Crawley -

"I'm not a big drinker and still have half of the bottle left, afraid to sip in case it hasn't aged well - but then it is 52 years old! "

Not an expert on the topic but back in 1981 I was offered a 200 y/o brandy in Japan. I expressed concern about likely quality after so much time. My host gently replied, "Sensei, brandy is the only spirit which ages well in glass. Let us drink!"

There were not enough "o"s in smooth to describe the experience.

My suggestion? Give it a try! It may be paler than you remember at the last decant but the flavor should be superb.

B
 

hecate105

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'09 Portuguese Estellas '14 Aurelia '16 St Davids '17 Via Augusta/V dl P. '18/'19 Michael Mary Way
Most countries have their own version - I had Centerbe in Italy and always now make my own - it changes slightly with the seasons...
A safer way to make this kind of liquor is to use vodka or brandy - a good strong one. Then wander around your garden and pick a few sprigs of whatever is in season - make sure you can identify anything you use - obvs! Herbs such as rosemary, thyme, lavender, marjoram, mints, basil, - if it is edible and has a pleasant smell - pop it in a big kilner jar. (don't use lovage/valerian/ramsons - it will turn out yucky!) then add any spices you have - a stick or two of cinnamon, a few allspice berries, nutmeg. Add a few coffee nbeans and if you like a bit of tea - Lady Grey or Lapsong is good... a few bits of fruit peel (no pith) - top up the jar with the vodka or brandy and leave in a cool dark place for 3 months. Strain it off and 'let down' the alcohol with as much sugar syrup as suits your taste - I use about 20% as I don;t like it too sweet! Mix and bottle. This makes a good herb tonic - a great way to get the herb effects in the depths of winter - and excellent as a hot toddy! Keeps for years. If you make it two or three times a year - the variation in available herbs etc is interesting....
 

malingerer

samarkand
Camino(s) past & future
cf (2), de la plata, cp. (2003 -2018)
Most countries have their own version - I had Centerbe in Italy and always now make my own - it changes slightly with the seasons...
A safer way to make this kind of liquor is to use vodka or brandy - a good strong one. Then wander around your garden and pick a few sprigs of whatever is in season - make sure you can identify anything you use - obvs! Herbs such as rosemary, thyme, lavender, marjoram, mints, basil, - if it is edible and has a pleasant smell - pop it in a big kilner jar. (don't use lovage/valerian/ramsons - it will turn out yucky!) then add any spices you have - a stick or two of cinnamon, a few allspice berries, nutmeg. Add a few coffee nbeans and if you like a bit of tea - Lady Grey or Lapsong is good... a few bits of fruit peel (no pith) - top up the jar with the vodka or brandy and leave in a cool dark place for 3 months. Strain it off and 'let down' the alcohol with as much sugar syrup as suits your taste - I use about 20% as I don;t like it too sweet! Mix and bottle. This makes a good herb tonic - a great way to get the herb effects in the depths of winter - and excellent as a hot toddy! Keeps for years. If you make it two or three times a year - the variation in available herbs etc is interesting....
Fantastic! Am going to nail this page to my favourites and proceed with cunning for the winter! A cruel fate (Meniere's disease) forbids me alcohol with my medication but ah! what the hell, I know just the person to try it on! :)

Samarkand.
 

ginniek

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
frances 2017
Kanga -

Plenty of resources on the Interwebz in this regard BUT:

- You need to check national law to see if the act of production is legal.

- If you wish to proceed, stick with designs in either copper or stainless steel if you seek a safely consumable product. There should be no exposure of the distilled goods to lead, aluminum, or tin-based compounds or solders.

- Do not not get greedy for "yield"...there are at least two "tailings" you need to dump to other uses. (Engine de-greasing at the first tailing of methanol. Personal hygiene for the second tailing of isopropyl alcohol - hand sanitizer?) Be satisfied with 90-100 proof (45-50% ABV) final product strength.

- It's a big topic with plenty of room for exploration but one needs to explore with caution.


@Jeff Crawley -

"I'm not a big drinker and still have half of the bottle left, afraid to sip in case it hasn't aged well - but then it is 52 years old! "

Not an expert on the topic but back in 1981 I was offered a 200 y/o brandy in Japan. I expressed concern about likely quality after so much time. My host gently replied, "Sensei, brandy is the only spirit which ages well in glass. Let us drink!"

There were not enough "o"s in smooth to describe the experience.

My suggestion? Give it a try! It may be paler than you remember at the last decant but the flavor should be superb.

B
 

hecate105

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'09 Portuguese Estellas '14 Aurelia '16 St Davids '17 Via Augusta/V dl P. '18/'19 Michael Mary Way
Making a drink from legally bought alcohol is definitely legal in the UK - I make fruit liqueurs as Xmas presents annually! I cannot see why it would be illegal anywhere - where alcohol is legal anyhow!
The use of a still is interesting.... in UK law it is legal for your own consumption but heaven help you if you start selling it! they don't like losing the huge amount of tax...:D In many European countries people take stills from place to place and distill your excess fruit - plums into Slivovich etc... A good way of storing/preserving - assuming you add fruit back to the distillation!
As a child part of my education (!) was standing by a small still making sure it was running smoothly - my Father thought it was good for my science knowledge...🙄
 

Canada Wanders

Lost, but making great time...
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2015
CP 2018
We once owned a holiday home in the Charente-Maritime region of France (Cognac) and it was a pre-holiday ritual for my young daughters to choose a large tin of "English" biscuits (usually Scottish shortbread) for our neighbours which gave them free reign whenever offered sweets by Monsieur et Madame.

On one visit I joked about the local wines being poor but the cognac was excellent (he was semi-retired but still kept up his little vineyard and vegetable garden)
"You like cognac?"
"Of course!"

He shuffled off and came back with a dumpy bottle, four shot glasses and a box of sugar cubes. His wife indicated to mine that you dunk a sugar cube in the drink and pop it into your mouth but it was too strong for her so I ended up with two (large) shots.

My word, I've never tasted anything like it before:
<<Fabriqué en 1968, épreuve à 68%, vieilli en fûts de chêne, non dilué, sans caramel ajouté>> (made in 1968 - it was 1993 by then - 68% proof, aged in oak casks, not watered down, no caramel added)

I went to turn the bottle to see where this nectar was made but M. Mormiche shook a finger and then pointed to himself: <<Je l'ai fait!>> and beckoned us out to the barn. There was his "alambrique" a stone oven with a leaded customs seal on the iron door, the big copper "onion" on top and the condensing coils.

My recollections of what followed are a bit hazy but apparently my French was very fluent and if I'm right he indicated a barrel in the corner of the barn - the last of a batch his father had made in 1945 to celebrate Liberation.

They popped around to us for coffee and English Cake the next week and it was his habit to bring a bottle of his home made (very good) wine with him. This time, after they left, I opened the bag to find a bottle of cognac instead!

I'm not a big drinker and still have half of the bottle left, afraid to sip in case it hasn't aged well - but then it is 52 years old!
I got a chuckle out your story. Brought to mind visiting my parents a couple years ago, and their next door neighbour saw us (wife and I arrive). He had heard about my serving overseas in former-Yugo, and had to share with me his 'Slipovich" or plum brandy. It was in a big glass bottle, clearly homemade from the odd colour and floaties.
My wife, she got her shot with a bit of maple syrup added...he made me shot mine straight...because for sure, I don't need my eyesight! Just like the stuff I remembered overseas...great for peeling paint off of your carrier.
 


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