Distillation on private premises is strictly against the law, but simple and delicious drinks may be made by infusing fruit in spirits to produce excellent liqueurs. These include fruit-flavoured brandies, gins and whiskies, ratafias, cordials and shrubs. A ratafia was originally named because it had an almond flavour derived from the fruit stones and this is the name of a flavouring essence resembling bitter almonds; a cordial was an invigorating drink, and a shrub was a syrupy concoction (deriving its name from the Persian word for sherbet) often made with rum.
These concoctions are very easy to make, and need not be expensive as the fruit exudes juices which blend with the spirits, so that a single bottle of brandy, whisky, gin or rum will usually yield 1½ bottles of liqueur, and of course liqueurs are served in small glasses. If the quantities seem too large, halve or quarter them as an experiment, and when you discover which drinks are family favourites, larger quantities can be made in another season.
Prepare the liqueurs in preserving jars, and save the spirit bottles. When the time comes to filter off the liquid from the fruit and other flavourings, return the liquid to the spirit bottles for storage, labelling them carefully. Use the drained fruit as a pudding with cream.