Within the wide range of liqueurs that exist in Spain, pacharán is one of the most recognized today in our country. This digestif has a very nice traditional flavor and is so easy to prepare that you can even make it at home.
If you like pacharán and you are one of those people who likes to prepare their own liqueurs, we have good news for you. And it is that preparing this tasty sloe liqueur is a simple task, for which you do not need many ingredients or a complicated production process. The result, as long as you follow the pacharán recipe as it should, is a very pleasant liquor that, made in a homemade way, can always be adjusted to your liking.
A little history
To know a little about where we come from and the tradition of this liquor, nothing better than diving into history and learning about the origins of patxaran. The first mentions of this drink are in Navarra, back in the fifteenth century. At that time, Queen Doña Blanca used to drink this concoction for its medicinal properties. In fact, it was frequently used as a remedy for the treatment of stomach pain. However, there are not many more historical references to the drink, which fortunately has been preserved to this day.
Regarding the industrial pacharán, so to speak, the process of its preparation and marketing began in 1956. The person in charge was Ambrosio Velasco, whose family had been distilling all kinds of liquors for several years in their factory in Viana. Precisely to him corresponds the popularization of this liqueur throughout Spain, under the Zoco brand, which is still present on the market today. Such would be the success of the drink that in 1988 the Pacharán Navarro regulatory council was created, which demonstrates the importance of this drink in our days.
The pacharan recipe
We return to our days to find out how this drink is made. To do this, we need some ingredients that, fortunately, are available to everyone. In this homemade formula, we will make pacharán with natural ingredients, without foreign chemical elements. An elaboration that, everything is said, is also the one that is usually used in the industrial manufacture of this drink.
The basic recipe for pacharán is made up of two ingredients: sloes and anise. The sloe is a berry that grows on blackthorns and is harvested during the months of September and October. Its optimum ripening point occurs precisely in the first days of October. If you have plants of this variety nearby, it is always better to collect the fruits yourself. Otherwise, there are several companies that send the sloe berries home, freshly picked and ready to be processed.
Regarding the anise, this will constitute the alcoholic base necessary to create the liquor. As with sloes, it is common to find anise for pacharán, made specifically for this use. Depending on the level of alcohol that this base anise has, the degrees of the resulting pacharán will be higher or lower. Something that makes it easy to adjust the alcoholic level of the product to your preferences. As a reference, a good pacharán has 25 to 30% alcohol.
These two are the main and basic ingredients to make this drink. But there are also a series of optional ingredients, with which to give a different finish to the liquor. Among them, we have cinnamon, coffee beans, aromatic herbs, spices and even other liquors. By wisely mixing all or some of these ingredients, you can enjoy a different flavor for your pacharán, according to your preferences.
The preparation of the pacharán
The process of making pacharán is a traditional maceration, so it does not require great complications or any containers or machinery. To proceed with the maceration, a good-sized container is enough, always made of glass or glass. Plastic containers should not be used, since due to the time that the product requires to reach its optimum point, it is possible that the plastic ends up contaminating the final result.
The idea is to pour one part of sloes and another two parts of anise into that glass container, to prepare a soft pacharán, or one part of anise, another of sloes and a third of your favorite liqueur, in case you want a they will beat harder. To this mixture add the cinnamon, the coffee beans and the rest of the ingredients that you plan to use, then close the container well.
Once this procedure is completed, we can only wait. It is necessary to store the bottles or containers with this “pre pacharán”, so to speak, in a cool and dark area, away from the sun’s rays. The mixture must remain there for a period that goes from 3 to 6 months, being convenient to stir it a little every two weeks. While you wait, you can while away the time by reading, for example, a good Dyson vacuum cleaner comparison. Once the time has passed, you do not have to filter the resulting liquid and store it correctly, to taste all the flavor of the best homemade pacharán.
How to take patxaran
Once we have our drink ready, we only have to know how to drink it correctly. In general, as happens with all digestive liqueurs, pacharán is best taken very cold and with a little ice, served in a glass or a glass. However, we are not talking about wine glasses, but about the anise glass or the liquor glass, depending on whether it has ice or not.
As an alternative, we can combine pacharán with an infusion of any plant, giving it a different touch. And for the more daring, there are already several cocktails that include pacharán as an ingredient, such as the pacharán mojito (with crushed ice, lime and orange juice) or the Hemingway with pacharán (which includes vodka and lemon juice). One more proof of the fame that this interesting drink has gained over time.