Pacharán - one of our favourite liqueurs to make! This fall we set out to hand pick enough endrinas or blackthorn berries to make 5 litres of pacharán. We wanted to do a taste test using different makers of Anisette, some being sweeter and some being cheaper! 

Deep purple, big and juicy the blackthorn berries or Endrinas are ready for picking!

Deep purple, big and juicy the blackthorn berries or Endrinas are ready for picking!

Historically, Pacharán was used in the middle ages as a remedy for digestive orders. It was thought to strengthen the stomach; relieve the aches and pains of old age;  and act as a sedative to calm your nerves. By the mid 14th Century, pacharán was being used by Queen Blanca I of Navarra as a cure for her illness. Along the same time , it was also being served for more festive occasions like weddings and Christmas festivities. It took another five hundred years before pacharán began appearing in open air markets across Navarra. By the 19th Century, this delicious digestif was considered the traditional after dinner drink in both restaurants and households alike. 

Traditionally from the Navarra region of Spain, where it is called Patxaran it has slowly spread across Spain and now the world. It is still a liqueur made and consumed in family homes. Like most recipes in Spain, each family and region have their own tried and true ingredients, some being secret!

Fairly easy to make, we created 5 different batches using the same amount of berries, coffee beans, cinnamon and camomile flowers. We did buy 5 different varieties of anisette liquor. Some sweet and some not. They also varied in price, some cheap, some not. We are very interested on the outcome of this experiment!

Not only did we hand pick all the berries, we also foraged wild camomile, which look like tiny daisy-like flowers, for this recipe. We gathered enough camomile to dry and now will have camomile tea for the winter!

The Recipe

  • 1 litre Anisette Liqueur  
  • 1 heaping cup of sloe/blackthorn berries
  • Stick of Cinnamon
  • 6 coffee beans
  • 1 tsp dried or fresh camomile flowers
  • Dry orange peel

Wash the berries and place them into a wide neck glass jar. Fill the bottle with the liqueur. If you desire a liqueur with a touch of sweetness, add sugar (I did not add sugar). Drop in the coffee beans, cinnamon stick, camomile flowers and orange peel. Cover the jar and leave in a dark, cool place for at least three months. Shake once in awhile.

Macerating the Blackthorn/Sloe Berries.

Macerating the Blackthorn/Sloe Berries.

Our last batch of pacharán we left in the dark for five months. After straining twice with a colander and twice through cheesecloth we bottled it in clean sterilized bottles. Again, we kept the bottled pacharán in a cool, dark place. As with most things - it improved with age!