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Carmelite brandy.

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This recipe is from my book Practical Herbs 2:

Homemade Carmelite Brandy

The French have 'eau des Carmes', the German 'Karmelitergeist'. That's distilled from spirits, lemon balm and certain spices. You can make something similar at home: Carmelite Brandy.

1 liter (1 quart) fruit brandy or vodka
40 fresh lemon balm twigs or 100 g (4 oz) dried lemon balm
1 lemon (organic)
1 tablespoon dried angelica root
2 tablespoons coriander seed
6 cloves
a small stick of cinnamon
a teaspoon of nutmeg, powdered or 1 nutmeg

Pick the leaves off your lemon balm twigs and discard larger twigs

Wash and slice the lemon.

Slice the nutmeg.

Pour lemon balm and your choice of alcohol into a tight glass jar and close the lid. Leave for 8 hours, strain. (If you're in a hurry, strain after four hours).

Add the spices to your strained tincture and leave for 2-4 weeks. Strain through a coffee filter. Bottle and label: "Carmelite brandy, August 2012".

Take 15-30 drops as needed in hot water for respiratory tract infections or the beginnings of the flu.

Or use it like you would lemon balm: for agitated sleeplessness, for headaches, for palpitations, for an upset gut and for minor menstrual cramps.

Now, where's my bottle? I feel the flu coming on (fake cough, fake sneeze, fake sniffle) and I'm certain that I'm overstressed as well ...

(... this is _tasty_. In fact, it tastes almost the same as the original, distilled, Carmelite water.)