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Quince Ratafia

(recipe, Carrie Floyd)

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Ratafia is a fruit brandy traditionally made by combining unfermented grape juice with marc brandy. It can be made out of other ingredients, too: fruit kernels, bitter almonds, or fresh fruit. For the home cook, ratafia is a fun way to capture seasonal fruit into a cordial to drink later. This recipe, adapted from Jane Grigson's Good Things, combines fresh quince with sugar, spices, and brandy or vodka.


  1. 2 large quinces
  2. ⅓ cup sugar
  3. 1 thumb-size knob of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  4. 1 cinnamon stick
  5. ¼ tsp. ground mace
  6. Vodka or brandy


  1. Rub the gray down off the quinces, then wash and dry them well. Grate the quinces (peel and core included) and place the grated fruit in a 1-quart jar.
  2. Add the sugar, ginger, cinnamon stick, and mace. Pour enough vodka or brandy over the grated quince to cover by 1 inch.
  3. Fasten the lid tightly, then give the jar a vigorous shake, to mix up the ingredients. Open the jar and push down the quince with a long spoon, so that the ingredients are submerged in the liquor.
  4. Set aside the jar for at least a week and up to a month. Strain into a clean bottle (or, for gifts, into several small bottles).
  5. Serve neat, chilled, in small glasses. Or experiment with cocktail recipes, substituting the quince ratafia for brandy or vodka.