The Brellis House


Category Archives: Drinks

Homemade ‘Gin’

Posted on March 8th, 2013 by Dan

We’ve made this recipe a couple times and really like it. It’s more like a chartreuse than a gin, but it’s still really good in a gin and tonic. Plus you can change around the recipe according to your tastes. We put together this recipe based on a few others that we found online, but every time we’ve made it we’ve changed it a little bit. juniper berriesgin ingredientsIngredients

  • 1 cup vodka
  • 2 Tbl Juniper berries (divided)
  • 4″ peel grapefruit
  • 1″ sprig rosemary
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 small piece of anise star
  • 3 green cardamom pods
  • 4 black whole peppercorns
  • 2 allspice berries
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 3 dried chamomile flowers


  1. Crush 1/2 Tbl of the juniper berries and combine with 1/2 Tbl of whole juniper berries in a glass jar with the vodka and let sit overnight (covered in dark place).
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients, including the rest of the juniper berries and let infuse in a dark place, covered, at room temperature for 24 hours.
  3. Strain the mixture through a cheesecloth or coffee filter.

homemade gin

Cranberry Soda, Homemade

Posted on January 5th, 2013 by Dan

cranberry-sodaHappy 2013 to all. For the holidays we experimented with making sodas. We’ve already had amazing success with ginger beer, so I decided to do a cranberry version. I made two batches, augmenting the original ginger beer recipe differently. Cranberry Soda #1 is all cranberry, while #2 is more like a sparkling cranberry lemonade. The recipes are below and you can just follow the directions from the ginger beer post. Both are great on their own or mixed with some sake or vodka as a cocktail on ice.

Cranberry Soda #1


  • 22.5 oz water
  • 6.75 oz cranberry juice
  • 6.75 oz simple syrup
  • 1/8 tsp champagne yeast

Cranberry Soda #2


  • 22.5 oz water
  • 6.75 oz simple syrup
  • 4.5 oz lemon juice
  • 2.25 oz cranberry juice
  • 1/8 tsp champagne yeast

NOTE: You can mix an additional 2 oz water with 1/4 oz simple syrup to top the bottles, until ~2.5″ space is left at the head.


Peach-Gin Cocktail with Thyme & St. Germain

Posted on September 2nd, 2012 by Dan

This is mostly for archival reasons, but we found a great cocktail recipe last night and wanted to remember it. We bought peaches from the farmer’s market yesterday and were looking for something with which to match them and St. Germain (a delicious elderberry liquor). Susanna’s favorite drink of the summer has gin in it, so this recipe tied everything together nicely. The recipe is basically the same as this one, but I made a couple of changes that I thought were major.

Peach-Gin Cocktail with Thyme & St. Germain

Ingredients (makes 2 cocktails)

  • 1 peach, puréed in food processor
  • 1 ounce St. Germain
  • 1 ounce thyme syrup (recipe below)
  • 1 ounce peach schnapps
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice (juice from half a lime)
  • 2 ounces gin


  1. Put all ingredients in a shaker and shake!
  2. Strain through a fine mesh strainer, lightly pressing the extra juice from the peaches.
  3. Wash out the shaker, put the mixture back in, add 1/2 cup ice and shake vigorously until cold.
  4. Pour into two wine glasses, garnish with a peach slice and a thyme sprig.


Thyme Syrup

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4-5 springs fresh thyme

Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan. Once boiling remove from heat, pour on top of the thyme sprigs into a glass jar. Let sit for 10 minutes, refrigerate until cool. Makes enough for 8 cocktails.

Homemade beer!

Posted on August 26th, 2012 by Susanna

We love everything homemade, so we just FINALLY got into homebrewing. We completed our first homemade beer!  It is a hefeweizen with coriander (from our garden) and lemon peel. Thanks to help from Dan’s uncle, Dave, the brewing process went well, it fermented for 1 week (not quite long enough), we managed to bottle it up without too many things going wrong, and brought it on vacation with us to Chincoteague to share with the fam. Vixen's Weizen

We think it turned out pretty decent for our first beer. Our second beer is already fermenting. It’s going to be a lambic and we’re adding figs from Dan’s sister’s fig tree. It actually needs to ferment with the figs for quite a while and will be done a year from now! So..not such a great beer for someone with no patience such as myself but it’s pretty exciting.

Mary Beth's figs



Cherry-Infused Bourbon Whiskey

Posted on July 2nd, 2012 by Dan

As you may remember, I bought 2 pints of sour cherries from the farmer’s market a few weeks ago. I pitted them all and froze them, hoping to save them until peaches are here for a peach cherry cobbler.

As I was reading about pitting cherries, I saw a recipe for Cherry Pit Vinegar. This made me think what else I could do with my pits. So instead of making vinegar, I decided to infuse my pits into bourbon.

Cherry-Infused Bourbon Whiskey

Image courtesy of This is a total experiment, but I’ve got high hopes for it! Here’s what I did for posterity’s sake.

  1. First, I sterilized a wide-mouthed 3-cup mason jar and lid.
  2. Then I placed about 1 cup of cherry pits in the jar followed by 16 fl oz bourbon whiskey.
  3. Sealed it up, shook it and put it in the closet. I plan to leave it there for 3 weeks (shaking once a week), then I’ll strain out the pits through a cheese cloth and store in the jar.

I used Black Eagle Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey (80 proof) for what it’s worth. It was cheap, but not the cheapest, I think about $12 for a 750mL bottle. In case it didn’t take in as much flavor as I would have liked after 3 weeks, I saved about 1 Tbsp of cherry juice in the freezer that I can add into the final product.

I’m going a little overboard maybe with the whole pit thing. I have about 3lbs of plum pits in the refrigerator that I want to infuse into brandy and vodka. Worth a shot, right?

Pimm’s Cup

Posted on June 22nd, 2012 by Susanna

We found this classic English cocktail by accident, but it is a strong front runner to being our favorite summer drink.

Pimm’s No 1 is a liquor, first made in the early 1880’s in London, England. There are lots of different versions of the popular Pimm’s Cup drink- we decided to use the following:

  • 2/3 lemonade
  • 1/3 Pimm’s
  • sliced oranges, lemons, cucumbers, strawberries, and mint
  • ice

It was seriously delicious.

Homemade Ginger Beer, Dark & Stormy

Posted on February 12th, 2012 by Dan

Our new favorite drink is a homemade ginger beer that is delicious, easy and much healthier than store-bought soda. It tastes amazing as a dark & stormy, and just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Homemade Ginger Beer

The recipe for the ginger beer is from a bartending and mixology blog that has some other recipes I can’t wait to try (homemade tonic water). All you need is a bottle with a rubber sealing top, some  ginger, lemon juice, sugar and yeast. The blog suggests using champagne yeast, but I used 1/16th of active dry yeast and it was plenty carbonated.

In case you lack ‘food patience’, this does take 48 hours to ferment, but I swear it’s worth the wait. We found that adding a healthy amount of black rum (goslings or another spiced rum) makes it tastes even better.

Thanks to my little sister for passing on this recipe.

Homemade Ginger Beer