When we went to the Chicago Botanic Garden talk on preserving herbs, one of the speakers also mentioned preserving fruits and making liqueurs… I thought “I can do that…” and so I did. I know, shocking!
On the way home I Googled “how to make homemade liqueurs” and discovered it exceptionally easy. Why did I not think of this before? Oh right, because I can drive to the store and buy various types of liqueurs! But then I can’t say… “I made it!”
We had raspberries in the fridge so that was my first experiment.
Couple of cups of fresh or frozen fruit
Vodka (or brandy)
Wash and remove any bad or suspect fruit. I half/two thirds filled two glass jam jars with fruit and then poured the vodka into the jar to cover the fruit. I sealed the jars and tucked them away in a dark place for a few months. The recipe I was referencing said at least four weeks. I forgot about them, then remembered, then didn’t have time that day, etc etc. Since the fruit is preserved in the alcohol, it does not matter how long it sits. Do try and remember to gently shake them on occasion to move the fruit around so the alcohol can infuse all the fruit equally.
Once you are ready for step two, strain the fruit/liquid through coffee filters to make the liquid as clear as possible. Set the fruit aside and use later for a dessert topping (I added some simple syrup [see below] and stored in the fridge to add to…something!).
Combine in a small stove top pot and then bring to a boil, stirring constantly to ensure sugar does not burn. Once at a rolling boil remove from heat and allow to cool (liquid should be clear). Once clear add 1/4 to 1/2 syrup to fruit alcohol and taste. Add more syrup to bring to desired sweetness. Different fruits will need different amounts of sweetening.
Store in a glass bottle for another month or so for the flavor to mature. I used an old olive oil bottle with a cork to seal.
Spiced Apple Liqueur
A few years ago I decided to combine apples, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and vodka. I have no real idea why I did this as I hate vodka, but I did it and never really used it for anything! So this mixture smells wonderful and I decided to strain and add a simple syrup to make a liqueur. Oh what a good idea that was! As this has been sitting for years, I think the vodka has gotten stronger as it is very strong… but thats ok, moderation is key. I used the full amount of the above simple syrup and stored in an old wine bottle.