How I love sweet flask fillers! In recent years I have been using a mixture that actually does change a little from batch to batch.
Fill a big enamel or steel cooking pot nearly halfway with raisins, other dry fruit, or a mix. Pour in a very large bottle of spiced rum, a bottle of brandy, whisky, rye, or anything else that feels right. The fruit should be well covered.
Let this glorious concoction sit for two weeks covered in a larder, or otherwise safe place away from heat or extreme cold. When you are curious (and you will be), open and stir the mixture. Sample the liquid. If it is not as sweet as you want or if the fruit seems to be more exposed than when you first covered the pot, pour in some peach brandy. When you are satisfied with the taste and the fruit is again covered, close the pot and leave it again for another two weeks.
After a minimum of six weeks, when you are completely pleased with the results of a final taste test, strain the liquid off the fruit and decant it into the repurposed bottles for storage. You will have a good number of filled bottles of wonderful Flask Filler!
A good time to start this project is early fall, well before Christmas or any special occasion. Planning ahead gives you time to decide what bottles you are going to use to store the final product. I drain and rinse beer bottles that have wire and stopper closings, as well as easily removable labels.
As a bonus prize, you will have quarts of raisins now deliciously impregnated with whatever they soaked up! What to do with them? I suggest baking a pound cake and adding a generous amount of the fruit mixture to the batter. This also presents a good opportunity to use up any chocolate bars or bags of chocolate chips you have in the cupboard. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler, mix in the fruit and some broken nuts, or perhaps add some toffee bits. Spread the mixture on a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper or aluminum foil. Let it harden, but score or cut it just before it hardens completely. Now you have something a friend of mine calls “Adult Chunkys”. These are very popular at gatherings after foot following the Three Creek Bassets (MO) and will soon be well loved at your hunt.
Naturally, the flask filler is good all the time!
Laura Balding is a member of the Bridlespur Hunt near St. Louis, MO. She is currently a Joint Master of the Three Creek Bassets, a private pack in Weldon, MO.