Twila E. Palmer's Blog
Absolutely delicious, inexpensive and simple to prepare, homemade cordials and liquors make ideal personalized gifts. Easily made without any special equipment or expertise, homemade liquors can be crafted from a diverse array of fruits, flowers, and herbs. These sweet spirits can also be infused with spices, nuts, plant leaves and tree bark. During medieval times, European monks fashioned liquors as a palatable way to ingest the medicinal properties contained in herbs, fruits, and other plants. Chartreuse and Benedictine are two liquors that are produced from the original recipes employed by the Benedictine monks. Under United States federal laws you are allowed to make as many liquors and cordials as you wish. It is, however, against the law to sell your creations. Take advantage of fresh fruit in season. Liquors capture the fresh fragrance and flavor of most any fruit or berry. There are hundreds of different recipes. However the majority contain only a few ingredients and simple preparation. Supplies you will need: • 1-gallon glass jar • Fruit • Sugar • Alcohol • Coffee filters • Wooden spoon • Strainer • Funnel • Corks • Saucepan • Glass jars with tight sealing, air-tight lids Fruit Or Berry Based Liquors A basic recipe for making liquors from berries or fruit contains alcohol, sugar, water and fruit. I pound fruit or berries of your choice 1-1/2 cups of granulated white sugar 4 cups of 80-proof vodka 1 cup of water Wash the fruit thoroughly, removing pits, seeds, and stems. Chop in small pieces. Place the chopped fruit in a gallon glass jar. Cover with vodka and cover with a tightly fitting lid. If you have too much fruit to cover with the allotted amount of vodka, add more vodka so that fruit is totally submerged in the alcohol. Store in a dark, cool place. Allow the alcohol to absorb the fruit flavors for 6 to 8 weeks. After the alcohol and fruit mixture has aged, pour through a strainer or colander. Squeeze the fruit to release all of the liquid. Discard the fruit pulp. Set aside the fruit flavored alcohol based liquid. Dissolve the sugar in water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring well to dissolve sugar to create a simple syrup. Allow the mixture to cool. Add the simple syrup to the strained fruit flavored alcohol liquid. Stir gently with a wooden spoon. Pour the liquid into a glass container and cover with a tightly fitting lid. Allow aging for at least six months. After the aging process is completed, filter the liquid to remove sediment from the liquor by pouring the mixture through a coffee filter. Pour the filtered liquor into an attractive glass decanter or jar and seal with an airtight lid, cork or stopper. Properly sealed, your liquor will be delicious and tasty for years. Have fun and experiment with different fruit or berry combinations. Plums, pears, grapes, apples, guavas, kiwi, watermelon, peaches, apricots, strawberries, raspberries, huckleberries, cherries, blackberries and blueberries can be used to craft your signature liquor. Herbal Liquors Pick fresh herbs from the garden to flavor your liquors or buy fresh cut herbs at the farmers market. Many herbs such as Mullen, thyme, sage, lavender, lemon balm, contain properties that offer medicinal benefits. Use the same basic recipe and methods for herbal liquors as you do for fruit and berry creations. Rinse fresh herbs well and chop finely. You may use vodka, gin, rum or Everclear alcohol to prepare your liquor. Add cherry or orange blossoms, lemon slices and spices such as cinnamon or nutmeg to flavor your liquor. Slices of fresh ginger may also be added. Experiment with brown sugar or honey in place of granulated sugars. Prepare, age and process and preserve herbal liquors in the same manner as fruit or berry preparations.