(POSTED: July 29, 2004)

How To Make Homemade Liqueur

These homemade liqueurs or cordials are easy to make, taste delicious and also make wonderful gifts. Be on the lookout for attractive bottles and jars in which to keep your liqueurs. These can be found at discount stores, yard sales, flea markets, and you can even recycle old liqueur and wine bottles. Just make sure that there is little or no air space in the bottles after filling or the flavor will fade.

The definition of a liqueur is: “a usually sweetened alcoholic liquor (as brandy) flavored with fruit, spices, nuts, herbs, or seeds.” With most of these recipes we will be starting with a purchased liqueur base and will be adding our own sweetner and flavoring by the method called infusion. The purchased alcohol base must be a “smooth” base, because the infusing will not soften the taste of a harsh brand of alcohol.

For this recipe you will need 3 cups of brandy, 1 cup of honey and 3 oranges. Peel your oranges, but be sure to leave the white rind on the orange. Cut the peel into 2 inch long, 1/4 inch wide strips. Combine the brandy and the rind in a jar. Cover this and let stand at room temperature for 3 weeks. Now remove the peel and stir in the honey. Let this stand for 3 days. You will now need to strain this, through a cheese cloth. Store in an airtight container. Will make 3 cups of Orange Liqueur.

Combine 3 cups of sugar, 2 1/4 cups water and the finely grated rind of 3 lemons in a heavy pan. Bring this mixture to a boil. Reduce your heat and simmer for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Let this cool to room temperature, then add 1 quart of vodka, 3 tablespoons of almond extract and 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract. Stir this well and pour into airtight containers. This will make approximately 6 ½ cups.

Combine 3 cups sugar, 3 cups water and 3 ½ tablespoons of instant coffee granules in a heavy pan. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce the heat, simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. Stir in 1 quart of vodka and 1 tablespoon vanilla. Now pour into containers and cover with plastic wrap. Punch holes in the plastic and store in a cool dark place for 4 weeks. After this period, store in airtight containers. This will make 6 ½ cups.

Remove the peel from 1 lemon in a long spiral. Drop this into a quart of vodka and let stand for approximately a week. Remove the peel. The lemon will actually color the vodka and give it a citrus taste.

With this recipe you will need a quart of vodka, to the bottle add 1 tablespoon caraway seeds, ½ teaspoon fennel seeds and 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds. Cover and let this stand for approximately 3 weeks, shaking daily. When the flavoring is strong enough, you will need to strain out the seeds. Now you will need to make some simple syrup (sugar water) to add as the sweetner. Combine ½ cup of water and ½ cup sugar in a saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer 2 to 3 minutes. Cool, then mix with the infused vodka. Pour the mixture through a coffee filter lined funnel into a bottle or jar and seal.

For this liqueur you will need, 2 cups pitted sweet cherries (save the pits), 2 cups vodka, 2 cups unpitted sweet cherries (you will be adding these in a week), ½ cup sugar and ½ cup water. Combine the pitted cherries and the vodka in a jar. Wrap the pits in a towel and crush them by using a hammer or a meat pounder. Add them to the jar, seal and shake.

Soak this mixture together for about a week, shaking the jar several times daily. Strain the liqueur through a coffee filter, making sure to press down hard to release all of the liquids. Discard the cherries and pits. Return the liqueur to the jar. Prick the unpitted cherries with a needle and add these to the jar. Seal and let stand for at least another week, shaking several times a day. Strain the liqueur again, this time, do not press. Combine the water and sugar, making a simple syrup, in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer 2 or 3 minutes, now cool. Add the syrup to the liqueur and mix well. Seal.

In a jar, combine 1 quart vodka and 3 tablespoon anise seeds, let stand at room temperature for anywhere from 1 to 3 weeks, shake daily. Taste this and when strong enough, strain out the seeds.

Combine 3/4 cup sugar and ½ cup water in a saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Combine the anise infusion with the simple syrup, then pour through a coffee filter lined funnel into a bottle or jar. Cover and store at room temperature.

In a large glass container with a lid, combine 3 large pears (cored and cut into ½ inch wide strips), 2 whole cloves, 2 whole allspice, a 3 inch cinnamon stick, 1 cup sugar and 2 cups vodka. Cover this tightly and shake to blend. Store for two weeks in a cool, dark place, shaking every other day.

After 2 weeks, strain the liquid through a strainer or double layer of cheese cloth into a glass bowl. Now pour into a bottle, and store in a cool, dark place for 2 weeks. This will make 2 1/3 cups liqueur.

In a medium saucepan combine 2 cups chopped, unpeeled red apples, 3 3-inch long pieces of cinnamon sticks and 2 tablespoons of water. Cover and cook this over medium heat for 10 minutes. Now add 2 ½ cups of sugar and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat, cool. In a large glass container, combine this mixture with 2 cups brandy and 3 cups of dry white wine. Cover tightly and store 3 weeks in a cool, dark place. Shake the container every 3 days to blend.

After 3 weeks, drain the liquid through a strainer and into a glass bottle. Cover bottle tightly and store in a cool, dark place for at least 2 weeks. Makes about 1 ½ quarts of brandy.

For this recipe you will need 2 ½ cups ripe blackberries that have been rinsed, 2 cups of brandy, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/3 cup water and 1 tablespoon lemon zest.

Crush 2 cups of the berries and place in a quart canning jar, making sure that your container has an enamel lined lid. Pour in enough brandy to cover the berries. Add equal amounts of berries and brandy to reach the top of the jar, make sure that all the berries are covered by the brandy. Also make sure that the jar is almost overful, then cap. It is a good idea to date your jar, particularly if you have more than one batch going at a time.

Allow this to steep in a cool, dark place for 2 months. Once every several weeks shake your jars.
After two months, carefully pour out the jar through a strainer. Follow the original straining with two more strainings through damp cheesecloth.
In a saucpan, combine the sugar, water and zest to make a simple syrup. Bring to a boil and simmer 2 to 3 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.
Using a funnel, pour your strained brandy into a bottle, than add the simple syrup, but add a coffee filter to your stainer first to strain out the zest. Cover this tightly and shake to blend. Let this sit at room temperature or less, for one month.

Give some of these wonderful liqueur recipes a try. While they are simple to make, they do take a little time for the infusion to take place. But every sip will be worth it! 

Written by Cynthia Muir

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