What is more end-of-summer than a field of goldenrod bursting into a golden amber bloom? Come late summer and early fall, roadsides and meadows across the country are filled with this gorgeous farewell to summer. And as the nights get a little chillier and the days a little shorter, this cinnamon and pear cordial is the perfect sip of the season to warm your bones. Plus, it comes with all the added nutrition and medicine of cinnamon, pear, and goldenrod.
what is a cordial?
Cordials are sweetened distilled liquors, more commonly called liqueurs these days. They consist of an alcohol base in which herbs, spices, and fruits are steeped and that is then typically sweetened. (Although, cordials can also be non-alcoholic.)
These cordials have a long history in medicine that dates back to the 1500s. Originally, they were crafted with herbs and spices to help with specific health concerns, such as sour stomachs or other digestive ailments. Many of them were considered cure-alls for a surprisingly and suspiciously wide range of ailments.
And while cordials were originally used mainly as herbal medicine preparations, it wasn’t long until ancient humans became intimately familiar with the intoxicating effects of alcohol.
As cordials grew in popularity, they quickly went from being medicine to recreational libations! Humans….
food as medicine
This cinnamon and pear cordial is a sweet and warming treat perfect for chilly nights. Luckily, cinnamon and goldenrod also add some lovely nutritional and medicinal qualities.
By nature, cinnamon is drying, warming, and energizing, and some of its medicinal uses include:
- Gastrointestinal tonic
- Expectorant (helps to remove excess mucus)
Goldenrod (Solidago spp.) is a bitter aromatic herb with a anise-like flavor. It has an affinity for the upper respiratory tract and kidneys/urinary tract system.
Goldenrod is considered to be:
- Analgesic (helps to relieve pain)
And in medicine, goldenrod is often used to:
- help alleviate allergy symptoms
- flush bacteria and other immune by-products from the kidneys
- tone mucous membrane tissues (astringent), helping to maintain a strong barrier against any possible future infections (especially as pertains to the urinary tract system)
how to use this cordial
Thanks to The Herbal Academy for inspiring this cordial! A pretty advertisement for their Goldenrod and Pear Cordial caught my eye and without even clicking on the link, I almost immediately walked outside to harvest some goldenrod, grabbed the bottle of brandy, a few cinnamon sticks, and a pear out of a gigantic and daunting pile of pears harvested from a local farm.
Coincidentally, I had be itching for more ways to used those pears!
This cordial takes 2-4 weeks to make. The longer you let the cinnamon, goldenrod, and pear infuse, the stronger their flavors will be. It’s up to you and your taste preference. I recommend tasting every few days.
And once ready, you can use this cinnamon and pear cordial in number of different ways too!
- As a digestif! This cinnamon and pear cordial contains some great anti-inflammatory herbs to help support digestion. Sip on a few ounces after a meal to help fuel your digestive processes and help to prevent gas, bloating, indigestion, and other unpleasant digestive ailments.
- As a cocktail ingredient! Try adding this cordial to botanical-inspired seasonal cocktails. Maybe an herbal version of a champagne cocktail? Or a spiked apple cider?
- As a gift! Most people love herbal gifts, especially if it involves booze. Find cute bottles to share with your friends and family. They make great hostess gifts for all those holiday parties.
cinnamon & pear cordial Course: DrinksDifficulty: Easy
This cinnamon and pear cordial with goldenrod was inspired by and slightly adapted from The Herbal Academy. It’s a sweet and warming sipper perfect for serving after a meal. It does take 2-4 weeks to make, so plan ahead. Serve in small cordial glasses in ~2 oz. portions by itself, use it to make seasonal cocktails, or bottle it and give it as holiday gifts.
~8-10 ounces of brandy or dark rum (or enough to cover the other ingredients)
1/4 cup goldenrod flowers, dried or fresh, rough chopped
2 cinnamon sticks
1 large pear, chopped (I used an Asian pear, but any variety will do. If not organic, be sure to take the skin off.)
1/4 cup local honey (more or less depending on desired sweetness)
- To a pint-sized glass jar with a tight fitting lid, add goldenrod, pear, and cinnamon sticks.
- Pour brandy over the ingredients in the jar, until all ingredients are submerged, covering them by at least 2 inches.
- Put a piece of parchment or wax paper between the lid and the jar. Seal tight and keep in a cool place out direct sunlight.
- Let sit for 2-4 weeks. The longer you let it infuse, the stronger it will be. As often as you remember, give the jar a vigorous shake to help the infusion process. You can taste every few days to witness the flavor progress!
- After 2-4 weeks, strain your cordial using a fine mesh sieve, several layers of cheesecloth, or a scrap of a clean cotton t-shirt.
- Once strained, stir in honey. You can always add more to suit your taste, but I recommend starting with a ratio of about 1:4 honey to brandy. (In other words, if you end up with 1 cup of infused brandy after straining, start by adding 1/4 cup of honey.)
- Return your finished cordial to a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. (Always remember to keep a piece of parchment or wax paper between your jar and a metal lid, otherwise the alcohol can cause a metal canning lid to erode.)
- Cordials, if stored properly, can last up to 5 years! Store in a cool place out of direct sunlight or in the refrigerator for even more longevity.
I hope you get a chance to try this recipe! It really is such a nice after-dinner treat and I wasn’t kidding about people loving boozy herbal gifts. You’ll be the talk of the party if you show up with some herb infused booze.
If (or when!) you catch the herbal cordial making buzz, try this Dandelion Leaf Bitters Cordial with mugwort and ginger. It’s another good cordial to help with digestion.
The information given in this article is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure. If you have any concerns at all, check with your health practitioner before consuming certain herbs & medicinal foods, especially if taking any prescription medications.