“It’s Christmas morning, soon after breakfast, that fallow period when not much is going on. I look inside the fridge, hoping for something like a cold sausage from the day before.

And there it is – a pristine pot of supermarket brandy butter.

A pause. No one is looking. I peel back the metal foil. The surface of the brandy butter sparkles like freshly fallen snow.

Yet half a second later, my finger has made a trench across the middle….”

Alexander Gilmour, The Financial Times


Regular readers of Saucy Dressings will know that I am always on for a cheat. If it’s possible to buy something ready-made, which is excellent, better than I could probably make myself, I’m not proud, there are plenty of other things which have to be done in the kitchen. But when it comes to brandy butter I’m afraid that I disagree with Alexander Gilmour.

We have tried the top brands recommended by the Good Housekeeping blind test, and we have found them wanting.

I have even tried the ruse of adding orange zest and attempting to pass the sparkling treat off as my own – a deception which did not convince the discerning devourers for even second.

The good news is that brandy butter is not that difficult to make. It only takes about five minutes. And it’s painless as you have to keep tasting as you add the brandy….. My only caveat is that you shouldn’t make it too far in advance (a couple of weeks is fine) or it seems to lose its brandy flavour (the angel’s share perhaps?). If you are a Christmas guest it’s an easy and perfect gift to take with you (let your hosts know well in advance – the idea is to relieve them of this task). Take it in a beautiful butter crock – such as those made by Eshkar Butbul – and you will be even more popular.

Brandy butter is good with Christmas pudding of course, and with mince pies. But it’s also good with toasted slices of fruit or malt loaf, or stollen. All of these should be served hot, and the brandy butter to go with them should be served very cold, fresh from the fridge, sliding and melting enticingly, golden, around the warm, succulent dark dried fruit.

It would also go well with a very different Christmas pud and mince pie hybrid.

This is what to do:


Recipe for making a truly boozyful brandy butter


Serves up to 12 – enough to keep you going over the Christmas period


  • 250g/9 oz –a brick of room temperature, unsalted, butter
  • 140g/1⅓ cups icing sugar
  • 120g/1 cup soft brown sugar
  • 120ml/½ cup …approximately… of brandy


  1. Blend the sugar and butter together with an electric whisk until light and fluffy.
  2. Gradually add the brandy – do I really have to remind you to keep tasting?
  3. Keep in the fridge and serve, from the fridge, at the last minute.

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