Christmas came early this year in the form of quince. A friend, who has a friend, who has a tree, was unloading some of her bounty. I was there to happily collect and welcome the fragrant beauties with open arms and plenty of ideas.

I am fairly certain that if you were to ask the quince how they were enjoying their new home they’d respond with resounding glee and most likely a hiccup – for I have gone and gotten them good and drunk.


You see I am making my own Quince Brandy for part of a series I like to call – Food Items that are Intended to be Holiday Gifts if I Don’t Get to Them First.

I ransacked the local Goodwill looking for unique and clean jars. Happy with my findings I made one more quick stop at the liquor store to purchase some decent, yet not to expensive, brandy.

The jars were sanitized as I wiped the quince clean inhaling as much of their floral perfume as I could before they took a six week bath in brandy.


Each quince was quarterd then stuffed into the clean, empty jar. Depending on the size of the jar I put in 1-2 cinnamon sticks, 2-3 star anise and 1/2 vanilla bean. I topped the fruit and spices with the brandy filling the jars to the top. I closed the latch and now they sit on the window sill infusing the brandy with spice and a deep, sweet scent that is quintessentially quince.

I’d be happy to see that jar under my Christmas tree – wouldn’t you?

Quince Brandy

adapted from Nigella Lawson

4-6 quinces

2 liters inexpensive brandy (as needed to fill the jars)

2 large or 4 small cinnamon sticks

2 vanilla beans

4 star anise

1-gallon jar or 2 1-liter jars – or whatever you can find

Wipe the quinces clean with a kitchen towel. Cut and quarter them leaving the peel and core intact. Arrange them in the jar(s) and pour the brandy over to come to the top. Place the cinnamon sticks, star anise and vanilla bean in the jars then fasten the lid. Leave for at least 6 weeks before serving.



9 Responses to “quince brandy”

  1. D. @ Outside Oslo

    Ashley, those are really beautiful. I imagine that the jars sitting in the windowsill must be quite pleasant to look at.

    Having made a bay leaf rosolio, limoncello, etc., this past summer, I’d like to encourage your readers to give liqueurs like this a try. They’re incredibly easy to make, but so special to share with friends and loved ones.

    I have a bottle of grain alcohol in my bar, just waiting for the perfect ingredients to infuse. I might have to search for some decorative little bottles and start working on presents!

  2. Daniel

    Intriguing holiday idea. I have done fruit infused wines but never liqueurs. I will have to try this out.

  3. Brooke

    This looks great and is inspiring me to make holiday gifts! Would you suggest substituting any other fruits in here? Apple? I’m just trying to think of local fruits I can get my hands on right now…

  4. Kate @ Savour Fare

    I gave this as Christmas gifts last year! I’m not a huge fan of the star anise — I think it’s a little overwhelming. I added a couple of cardamom pods, but I love the idea of vanilla.

  5. Jennifer

    I have many friends who would appreciate spirited gifts such as these. My mom and I also decided on handmade gifts this holiday season. Perfect timing, my dear 😉

  6. Kylie of Thin Crust Deep Dish

    Oh my goodness, your gift recipients are the luckiest. I can’t even imagine how terrific these will smell. I just got some containers for homemade gifts today. Actually, I got them at Fishs Eddy, which you might want to visit on your NY trip. It would be a great stop en route to City Bakery, which is right down the street.