1Pick over the blackberries, but avoid washing them unless absolutely necessary.
2Put them into a stoneware crock.
3Peel the zest form the lemons, being careful to get as little of the white pith as possible.
4Over medium high heat, boil the water with the sugar and lemon zest in a saucepan until the sugar is completely dissolved, approximately 10 minutes after it comes to the boil.
5Pour immediately over the berries and let stand 12 hours.
6Add the brandy or vodka and cover.
7Store in a cool, dark place for 4 weeks.
8Strain through clean, wet cheesecloth, but do not force the berries.
9Bottle in sterilized bottles or jars, but do not vacuum seal.
10Store in a cool dark place.
From Southern Cooking, by Bill Neal, The University of North Carolina Press