The South has a long tradition of fruit wines, liqueurs and cordials. This one is made from the region's favorite berry. Be sure to seek out Ceylon cinnamon: most other cinnamons are too harsh and can spoil the flavor. It's fine to use frozen berries. The cordial must sit for at least 2 weeks to develop its flavor.
How to Make the Ultimate Umami-Bomb Vegetarian Demi-Glace
4 cups blackberries
3 cups bottled water
4 whole cloves
3 black peppercorns
3 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
2 cinnamon sticks, broken into 2-inch pieces
1 bay leaf
1 cup light brown sugar
1 1/4 cups Cognac or other brandy
In a medium saucepan, combine the blackberries with the water, cloves, peppercorns, cardamom, cinnamon and bay leaf and bring just to a boil. Cook over low heat for 30 minutes, gently crushing the berries against the side of the saucepan. Strain the berries through a fine sieve into a heatproof bowl without pressing on the berries. Stir in the brown sugar until dissolved. Let cool.
Stir in the Cognac and pour into bottles. Seal the bottles tightly and store in a cool dark place for at least 2 weeks before serving.