When you taste it for the first time you won’t be able to determine that it’s a simple pistachio infusion and not aged brandy. Following this recipe, you’ll end up with a brandy-colored beverage with a smoky woody aroma, light hints of coffee and vanilla. It has a very rich oak flavor with a creamy vanilla aftertaste.
In order to make this drink, you don’t need pistachio nuts, just empty shells, which contain substances required for aroma and coloring. Grain or fruit moonshine (distillate) works great as the alcohol base. You can also use vodka or ethanol diluted to 40%. Brandy or other hard liquors aged in oak barrels will give out a tannic flavor that is too strong.
- Moonshine (vodka, alcohol 40%) – 1 liter
- Pistachio shells – 2 handfuls
- Sugar (honey) – 1-2 tbsp (to your liking)
- 2 prunes (optional)
- 1 dried apricot (optional)
- 4-6 raisins (optional)
Dried fruits (prunes especially) enrich the aroma and soften the flavor of the infusion. Honey and sugar add sweetness, but I recommend using only a few spoons or not adding them at all.
Pistachio Infusion Recipe
- Rinse pistachio shells with water and then boil them for 4-5 minutes. After that dry them in the sun. Boiling removes salt (if pistachios were initially salty) and also tannins excess. This will make the infusion less harsh.
- Grill the shells in an oven (put them on a dry baking sheet and bake for 8-10 hours at 60-90°C, stirring from time to time). Alternatively, you can simmer them in a well-wiped frying pan (remove any oil or grease residue) until deep-brown (as shown in a photo). Thermal soak in the oven gives a softer and more delicate taste. On the other hand, frying on a pan takes much less time.
The correct degree of frying
Intense frying makes the beverage’s aroma more smoky, almond and vanilla. Just don’t let the shells burn.
- Put cooled shells into a container and pour with the alcohol base. Add dried fruits (optional) and close the container with a lid.
- Leave the container for 8-15 days in a warm dark place.
Warning! After 8-10 days of infusion check the taste of the beverage and remove the shells if it’s too harsh. The amount of tannins varies depending on the shells used. So, leaving them for too long can spoil the drink.
- Filter the pistachio infusion through cheesecloth. Give it a taste and add sugar or honey (optional). Stir until completely dissolved.
- Bottle the drink and hermetically seal it. Leave it in a fridge or cellar for at least 30-60 days. Aging makes the taste softer.
Its shelf-life is up to 5 years (if stored in glass bottles away from sunlight). 36-38% ABV.