From Apple to Eau-de-Vie

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Highlighting Historical Romance with Sofie Darling and–From Apple to Eau-de-Vie: a quick look at apple brandy

When I set out to write about a feisty widow determined to save her estate by selling illicit apple brandy through pirates, I had the great pleasure of researching how to get from apple to eau-de-vie.

First, let’s talk apples. At the height of apple cider and brandy’s popularity in the 19th century, there were 2,000 apple varieties in the world. (By contrast, today that number has fallen to 800.) For a nice, well-rounded brandy, several types of apples are used, ranging from bitter to sweet. In Her Midnight Sin, for example, the estate used 13 types of apples in its ciders and brandy.

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To make the brandy, first, a cider must be produced. This is the “wash.” It takes two distillations to make a fine brandy. The first distillation is called the brouillis, a “low” wine. This liquid is then run through the still once again to produce the bonne chauffe, which is the final product. One interesting note: the distillation process has a “head,” a “heart,” and a “tail.” Only the heart is used as the head can be toxic and the tail is the waste.

The brandy still used in Her Midnight Sin is an alembic pot (as pictured) still imported from Charente, France, a place famed for its brandy still design. The still is made from copper for both its heat conductivity and for its chemical reaction with the wash, which contributes to the brandy’s fine quality.

Et voilà! Here’s to our fine brandy. À ta santé!

About the Book

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Like a vengeful Norse god, Captain John Nylander has come from the sea to steal the only home that Callie has ever known. And that might not be all he’s after.

                                                                      Can a Viking…

Orphaned as a child, Nylander has never known a real home. Now he is ready to leave the dangers of his past behind and put down the roots he has always longed for. The only thing standing in his way is a lanky aristocratic lady who is more at home on the farm than in the ballroom. And she has secrets…

And a Viscountess…

Callie, the Dowager Viscountess St. Alban, has poured all her energy into making Wyldcombe Grange her home. Managing an estate is not what she dreamed of, but her late husband’s rejection made it clear that love and a family would never be hers. Now she may lose even that to the sinfully handsome Captain. But Nylander is making her dream again…

                                                               Turn passion into love?

Nylander inspires a recklessness in Callie that she can’t control. Soon she finds herself conspiring with pirates and contemplating midnight trysts with the very Viking who has turned her life upside down. For Nylander, being with Callie embodies everything he’s always wanted—home. As midnight strikes, will all their secret, sinful dreams come true?

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About the Author

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Sofie Darling is an award-winning author of historical romance. Her debut novel, THREE LESSONS IN SEDUCTION, won the Writers’ League of Texas’ Manuscript Contest in the Romance Category in 2016.

She spent much of her twenties raising two boys and reading every book she could get her hands on. Once she realized she simply had to write the books she loved, she finished her English degree and embarked on her writing career. Mr. Darling and the boys gave her their wholehearted blessing.

When she’s not writing heroes who make her swoon, she runs a marathon in a different state every year, visits crumbling medieval castles whenever she gets a chance, and enjoys a slightly codependent relationship with her beagle, Bosco.


One thought on “From Apple to Eau-de-Vie

  1. Caroline, thank you so much for inviting me over to talk a bit about apple brandy. This was fun! Xo, Sofie

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Caroline Warfield, Author

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