Countryside Urban landscape

Chequer schnapps update

In my recent post about the Wild Service tree and it’s elusive fruits, I reproduced an English translation of a German recipe for Wild Service vodka, or Chequer schnapps as I now prefer to call it.

I came across Patrick Roper’s English version (and his very illuminating Sorbus blog) after I had found the German recipe which I had already asked a German friend of a friend to translate. So, with many thanks to Laura I have this new translation which I thought might be a useful addition to the sum of human knowledge:

Recipe for Chequer schnapps.

To make this brew, take 400g of Wild Service tree berries (Chequers) and mash them all up, preferably in a non-metallic bowl.
Cover up the mash and leave to ferment for a week.
Place the mashed fruits in a fine linen cloth and squeeze.
Use the juice to mix 1:1 with Vodka (40% by vol.) and mix the squeezed residue with 250ml of Vodka.
Leave this residue mix to stand for another two weeks then sieve and add to the vodka juice mix.
Add three tablespoons of honey.
The resulting strained vodka mix needs to rest untouched for at least 6 months at room temperature.

Chequers on Wild Service Tree (Sorbus torminalis), Queen's Wood
Ambrosia: rare fruit discovery in north London heralds the possibility of local liqueur manufacture

Since my last post I have found an abundant local source of the necessary chequers so my boozy ambitions could yet come to fruition. Between Highgate and Muswell Hill in north London lies the oasis of Queen’s Wood. Here metalled paths and municipal rubbish bins rub shoulders with coppiced Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus), huge 200-year-old Oaks (Quercus robur), the unusual Woodland hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata) and Wild Service Trees (Sorbus torminalis).

Queen’s Wood is an amazing survival: a pocket of ancient woodland in London. It appears to be thriving too despite thousands of visitors and relentless pollution. It is possible to get lost here and listen to Jays screeching overhead while feeling safe in the knowledge that central London is no more than 30 minutes away by tube from nearby Highgate underground station.

Here’s one of the ways into the Queen’s Wood:

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