Homemade liqueur is a great way to use fruit in a tasty and creative drink that wows your dinner guests. Follow our simple recipe below and enjoy!
Though you may be familiar with liquor (vodka, gin, whiskey, rum), liqueur is a sweetened alcoholic drink made from liquor and added flavors, spices or extracts. Unlike making wine at home, making homemade liqueur is much more forgiving: there is no costly equipment, no fermentation, and no worries about spoilage because the alcohol content is so high. Any fruit can be made into a liqueur: raspberries, blueberries, peaches, plums, pears, elderberries, or aronia berries. Once submerged, the alcohol slowly extracts juice from the fruit over several weeks. For a smooth and deep fruity flavor, consider starting your homemade liqueur now and serving it for Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Homemade Liquor Recipe
Making homemade liqueur isn’t an exact science and you can tweak the proportions of fruit, alcohol, and sugar to suit your palette. Though any 40 percent alcohol can extract fruit juice, vodka is recommended because it has a more neutral taste that won’t intrude on your final product. Higher proof (90 to 95 percent) grain alcohol, rectified spirit, or Everclear can also extract more juice than vodka but must be diluted with water to be drinkable.
- 3 cups fruit (or more, if you want it extra fruity)
- 3 cups vodka (or half the amount of grain alcohol)
- 1 cup organic sugar to taste
Accent flavors work great with certain fruits to make a more complex liqueur:
- Lemon zest and ginger work well with nearly any fruit
- vanilla bean can add smoothness to cherries, raspberries, or other berries
- cinnamon and cloves add a festive spice to plums, pears, or apples
How To Make Homemade Liqueur
Though making homemade liqueur may take a while, the steps are simple and straightforward:
- Roughly chop larger fruits (pears, plums, peaches) or crush smaller berries with the bottom of a cup: this helps extract more juice than using whole fruit.
- Fill a large mason jar (or another container) with the crushed fruit and then pour the vodka over it. Stir well with a spoon.
- Seal your container and let it sit in a cool, dark place for 1-3 months to infuse (the longer, the better).
- Strain the fruit out using a cheesecloth or cheesecloth alternative. Repeat with a wet coffee filter for crystal clear results. The remaining fruit is perfectly edible: eat it straight for a boozy snack or use it when making desserts such as boozy popsicles.
- Mix in the sugar. Start with half a cup and then increase depending on your preference.
- Store mixture in a sealed container in a cool dark place for at least another month. This allows for a smoother flavor.
- Store your fruit liqueur indefinitely! The high alcohol content ensures it will not spoil. Drink neat (sip slowly to enjoy the flavor) or use it to make summer spritz cocktails.
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