Thursday, February 10, 2011

Liqueurs Made at Home Are Deceptively Easy

Fruit Liqueur

At this time of year, cranberries are a lively and accessible fruit to use during this month and an easy first step to making your own liqueurs at home to enjoy them throughout the year. Try diced pears for a ‘Poire William’. Strawberries and raspberries make a delicate liqueur as well.The simplicity of these methods reminds me that this tradition of fruit flavoured cordials, wines and brandies have a long history in early Ontario and Quebec.

In the Ottawa Valley where I spent my formative years as a teenager, my close friend’s parents kept a 'cellar' (kept at a cool temperature) filled with fruits, wines, dried meats, and herbs suspended from the rafters. There were jars filled with what seemed to be strange and exotics things that lay in wait for opening. Upon reflection, this family hunted, fished, and picked fruits and berries in season while still being able to ‘set aside’ the abundance that the land provided. That knowledge probably came from their French, Celtic and Native roots that thrive still in the ‘valley’ not a stone's throw from the nation’s capital.

1 storage jar

2 cups chopped fruit

1 cup vodka or equivalent 40% alcohol

1 tbsp brandy (optional)

1/2 granulated sugar

Place the chopped fruit in a clean 1 litre jar. Stir in alcohol. Marinate for 2-3 weeks in a cool dark place. After the marinating is complete, remove the fruit using a fine cheesecloth. Reserve the fruit for ‘another use’. Add sugar and mix the liquid and the sugar until the granules have dissolved. Pour into sterilized bottles, cork, label and store in a cool place. Wait one week before serving. Taste and serve in small fancy glasses.


1 storage jar

4 lemons

11/2 cupsvodka or equivalent 40% alcohol

3/4 cups granulated sugar

Peel the skin and rind from the lemons and follow the same process as fruit liqueur above. After 2 weeks, stir in sugar and let the sugar dissolve slowly for one week or longer, shaking it daily to permit the sugar to dissolve. Pour into sterilized bottles, cork, label and store in a cool place.

Coffee Liqueur

1 storage jar1/2 freshly brewed expresso coffee

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 cup vodka or equivalent 40% alcohol

1/3 cup brandy or rum (optional)

Place the hot coffee and sugar in a storage jar and blend well. Stir in alcohol. Pour into sterilized bottles, cork, label and store in a cool place.

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