1. Put the blackberries and water in a double saucepan and stew gently for 1 hour.
2. Strain and measure the juice: to each 600 ml (1 pint) add 450 g (1 lb) sugar.
3. Stir to dissolve the sugar, then bring to the boil. If using the cloves, tie them in a piece of muslin and add to the pan. Simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Remove the cloves, if used, and cool.
5. If using the brandy or liqueur, add it now, then pour the syrup into hot bottles, leaving about 5 cm (2 inches) between the syrup level and the base of the cork or screw stopper.
6. Put the bottles into a deep pan fitted with a false bottom and pour in enough water to come to the bases of the corks.
7. Bring the water to simmering point, then maintain for 20 minutes.
8. Remove the bottles to a wooden board and cool.
9. Dip the tops in melted paraffin wax or brush with melted beeswax.
10. To serve, dilute with hot or iced water to taste.
To sterilise bottles see Sterilising Bottles