Preserved Apricots In Brandy and Honey

I have a bit in common with apricots. I can be a bit dull and uninteresting, often outshone by others. However, like apricots, if I’m pickled in brandy for long enough, I too am transformed into a thing of glorious beauty and attractiveness. Perhaps I might abandon the analogy at this stage as this personal transformation only goes on in my head, the effects don’t last and the memory tends to make me shudder with guilt and remorse.

While we were soaking up a bit of sun (safer than the brandy, I assure you) in the Dordogne, I got to thinking of preserving some of the fine fruits that we came across in each and every local market. Apricots in Brandy is a classic. So we decided to give it a go and also to put our own twist on things. Usually, apricots are preserved in a mixture of water, sugar and spirit. The Wife suggested that we try some local honey instead of the sugar. This made perfect sense to me as it is pretty well all sugar anyway and it tastes delicious. It also has the benefit of being a local product too. So, there is a logic to using it for a traditional dish. We also decided to add vanilla to some of the jars to see if it adds anything positive to proceedings.

Side note on preserving fruits. Last year, while in France, I preserved some cherries in vodka. The post is here. I dutifully brought the jars of preserved cherries home and stored them for a year in a dark cupboard. Just before returning to France, I opened the first jar and tasted the fruit. I opened a second and a third just to be sure. The cherries had turned a sort of an off-grey colour. They tasted of nothing but cheap vodka. I threw the lot in the bin. Hopefully, we will be more successful this time.

There is very little to this preservation.


  • 1.5 kilos of apricots
  • 400 ml of brandy
  • 250 ml of honey
  • 600 ml of water
  • Glass storage jars

Place the storage jars in your oven and turn to hot. Leave them there for about 20 minutes. Carefully remove them. Half the apricots and remove the stones.

They are not a very interesting fruit at all. Very tasty when cooked, preserved or dried.

Add the honey to the water and warm until the honey dissolves. Add the brandy and mix.

The honey pours well in the Dordogne summer heat.

Distribute the apricots in the storage jars. Cover with the brandy/honey mixture, leaving a bit of room at the top of each jar. Add vanilla pods if you wish.

All looks good at this stage. So did the cherries last year…

Seal the jars and store away for a couple of months. I will have to report back to you on the success or otherwise of this venture. For now, everything looks pretty good. But, it did with the cherries last year too….

Nothing to do now but wait and see how they turn out. Ask me at Christmas.

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  • Those look delicious, I’ll be they work really well. I had some success last year preserving pears in honey and white wine but I know what you mean by the failed experiment. I once tried a historic recipe for preserving whole quinces in honey. The next time I looked at them they had shrivelled into something that looked as though it had been found in Tutankhamen’s tomb. The honey tasted good though. 🙂

  • *bet*

  • I grew up with a very prolific apricot tree in our yard. Brandied apricots with honey and cinnamon or cloves were among the jars of apricot goodness my mom and I put up up every year. I know these will be wonderful — if they make it to Christmas — ours often didn’t. 😉

  • I had a similar experience with cherries except I used brandy instead of vodka. The cherries turned grey and unappetising but the cherry brandy was delicious.

    I agree about fresh apricots being unimpressive, here at least, but preserved in booze…..omg! 💥

  • That is so sad about your cherries. Whenever I pour vodka over fruit, it’s only for the vodka. So here’s hoping these apricots pickle properly for you!

  • I’ve never added water to preserved fruit or fruit infused vodka and gin. I think water is the problem. I hope that helps.

      • Apparently, when they were filming the African Queen, everyone got sick except Humphrey Bogart and John Huston. They only drank whiskey!
        I did look up a few recipes and the ones that do use water seem to have a slightly more sugar to water ratio, e.g. 1 cup of water to 1.25 cups sugar.

          • Fingers crossed!

          • I’m the same, as I don’t like it mixed. I often drink gin and tonic as it lasts a lot longer.

          • ROFL – quite right too!

  • These look delightful! I love apricots! The site makeover is awesome too 🙂

  • Every year I buy a crate of apricots and make jam , dumplings and cakes but I have never done anything with alcohol. My father used to make something called a rum topf ( pot with rum) in Germany . He would pick stone fruit that was in season, put it in a big ceramic pot and cover everything with rum. I don’t thing he added sugar. He would repeat this process with different fruit until the pot was full. This became his topping for his nightly serving of ice cream. It was pretty potent and good.

  • I’m wishing you HUGE success with this lot, Conor! And I don’t think the apricots are dull and boring at all, and they are quite pretty with your photography. 🙂

  • Exciting! I wonder about the scientific/chemical explanation how the cherry flavor disappeared altogether. It’s not obvious to me.

      • Looks like you used decent cognac for the apricots.

  • His rum pot never went bad , at least I don’t remember. He always made sure the fruit was covered with rum. A friend of mine makes liqueur , it’s tasty. She cooks berries with wine, water and sugar with a touch of vanilla, drains and cools it and adds rum .

  • Warm laughter from the Antipodes! Drink wine, generally bypass spirits, but you two have mentioned my pair of favourites ! Thank you for the much-enjoyed badinage and would accept a G&T or single malt [no aversion to the Irish!!] from either of you any day . . .

  • My apologies: this ‘un bon mot’ was instructed to plant itself far higher 🙂 !

  • OmG – if we only could get Apricots here – can only dream!!! So, I just like to read (incl. the comments!!) and look at your beautiful photographs. Good Luck, Conor. Coming to Gerlinde’s comment: “Rumtopf” is still being made in many German and Danish houses – and sooooo delishes, fantastic with icecream and certain cakes. It will take a few month to make, in a special ceramic pot with close lid and NO peeking or you will be starting all over again. But it needs sugar – a lot!

  • *huge smile* Used to love G&Ts in my wicked youth . . . . now a whisky, straight up, no ice, no water . . . sitting down with old colleagues, being ‘one of the boys’, just sometimes fits the bill . . . and since I nearly remarried one who called himself ‘bog-Irish’ I guess you would know which way I would go . . .

  • I am going to research the Rumtopf recipe.

  • I never met an apricot I didn’t like and these photos are just the prettiest Conor. I know what I will giving a whirl once stone fruit season is upon us.

  • Not so many apricots this year but I’ve got 2 cases of peaches coming next week. I might try this with a few.

  • Sorry for your bad experience. I do preserve cherries with alcohol in a different mixture ratio, which works every year. Leftovers from christmas ( we eat it first time after 6 months) are still fine next christmas( forgotten in cellar). I use 2 kg cherries, 1l alcohol( 45%) 150g sugar, 150g water. Same procedure than yours.If you do not like to get such strong alcoholic fruits you have to heaten it for 20min.

  • Just found this recipe and read the follow up. My apricots should be ripe in the next month! I can’t wait to try it with some good brandy

  • Also how many months do you leave them in the jars? I can see the posted date of your recipe only that they were ready by Christmas. How long do they last in the jars?

  • Do you refrigerate them afterward? Or are they fine being stored at room temperature? Thank you.

  • I used a mid-range quality bourbon for my cherries with a little castor sugar and spices – 4 months on and they’re getting better

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