Homeade liqueur for procrastinators?
December 13, 2010 11:38 AM   Subscribe

I didn't get my limoncello started in time (which I'd usually let go for three or four weeks). Are there any homemade liqueurs I can start tonight that will be ready to drink by Christmas?
posted by mudpuppie to Food & Drink (16 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
Increase the zest concentration and you can probably still pull off the limoncello.
posted by deludingmyself at 11:41 AM on December 13, 2010

You can make Irish creme, if you don't have an aversion to dairy, which I think can be served right away and keeps for up to a month.
posted by radioaction at 11:45 AM on December 13, 2010

You could add fruit to vodka. It doesn't take long to infuse vodka, for most fruits.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:45 AM on December 13, 2010

Tea only takes a few hours to infuse (and if you infuse too long, it becomes bitter).

Ginger only takes a day or two.

Massive list of schnapps recipes. Some of them have to take only a week or two.
posted by asphericalcow at 11:50 AM on December 13, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Gin! http://www.gourmet.com/winespiritsbeer/2008/10/homemade-gin

This is an incredibly smooth and delicious gin.
posted by rosa at 11:52 AM on December 13, 2010 [15 favorites]

Disclaimer: I'm a broke college student who makes liqueurs from Everclear in Mason jars underneath my bed. Your setup is probably better, so you may be able to pull off more things.

In general, think about ingredients which steep quickly or liqueurs which are suspensions instead of infusions. Examples--

From personal experience: Sweet tea vodka (steep good black tea in vodka, strain, add honey) can be made in an afternoon, and the 1.5 wk maturation before Christmas can only help. Honey vodka (Bärenjäger or Bärenfang) made with a 1:2 honey:vodka ratio is smooth, sweet, and delicious after a week of resting time. I've also made tasty chocolate liqueur by melting chocolate into vodka.

I haven't tried these recipes, but this homemade Kahlua purports to be ready immediately, and here's a cool-looking recipe for homemade Irish Cream.

Good luck! Homemade liqueurs are such a wonderful Christmas present.

On preview: Mmm...Blazecock, the fruit infusions I've tried have taken longer than a week--although admittedly the only ones I've tried are berries and peaches. Very juicy fruits, like watermelons, might take a shorter amount of time. I'd stay away from ginger (unless you're making something like ginger beer, yum!), as it takes a while (~2 weeks?) to infuse and doesn't improve with age.
posted by flawsekno at 12:00 PM on December 13, 2010 [3 favorites]

Cinnamon Dram

2 oz cinnamon sticks and 3-4 spoonfulls of sugar in a bottle of vodka

let sit two weeks (or longer)

strain (or not) and enjoy
posted by Jawn at 12:01 PM on December 13, 2010

I've already made a batch and half of this to give to everyone for Christmas, so I guess I can let the secret out now: Liquore alle mandorle (almond liqueur). Obviously, the everclear makes it strong, but it is delicious to sip on. I'm also trying a batch with half everclear and half vodka, to tone it down a bit.
posted by eralclare at 12:44 PM on December 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

Rosemary infuses into Vodka super quick (under 1 week) and makes a delicious mixer w/ orange juice.
posted by Pickman's Next Top Model at 1:06 PM on December 13, 2010

Blazecock Pileon: "You could add fruit to vodka. It doesn't take long to infuse vodka, for most fruits."

Cheap vodka and a ton of dried cranberries, you let them sit as long as you can and it's a beautiful deep red and very delicious drink.
posted by dzaz at 1:40 PM on December 13, 2010 [3 favorites]

Do you perhaps have a cream whipper and N2O-chargers? You can instantly infuse your limoncello with them, instructions here. Christmas saved!
posted by lioness at 2:04 PM on December 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

If they're for gifts rather than for consuming at a holiday event, you can probably get away with making them now and putting "Ready to enjoy on [future date]" on the pretty tags you make for each bottle. That's what I did with the boozy cherries I put up last year.
posted by rhiannonstone at 2:56 PM on December 13, 2010

I'm going to nth infusing vodkas with quick-infusing ingredients. My personal favorite and the one I've gotten all of my friends addicted to is vodka infused with Earl Grey tea. I usually just eyeball the amounts- about 3 big tablespoons per 750 ml of vodka. It then sits in a dark place for about 48 hours. Then I open it up and take a whiff to see if it smells strong enough (it almost always is) and strain out the tea. I've also had success with juniper berries and black pepper, though that one gets a little spicy. Another tasty one is mulling spices in bourbon, which also doesn't take long. The Earl Grey vodka is fantastic mixed with Italian grapefruit soda, the juniper and black pepper makes a good martini or vodka tonic, especially with a cuke float. Good luck!
posted by Polyhymnia at 3:14 PM on December 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for all the great ideas -- they all sound fantastic. I'm going to go with the gin, since I can bottle it up and be done with it before leaving town this weekend.

posted by mudpuppie at 3:31 PM on December 13, 2010

I've previously done this plum pudding vodka. Despite previous suggestions that a week-plus is needed for steeping fruit in vodka, the recipe only calls for a week and that was enough for me.

This is really nice chilled and with a dollop of cream.
posted by spongeboy at 1:59 AM on December 14, 2010

Response by poster: Just coming back to say, made that gin with some inexpensive vodka from Trader Joe's. Followed the recipe (but didn't add lavender because of my audience), but also added some caraway, a knob of ginger, some orange peel, and a couple of kaffir lime leaves. It's outstanding! Could maybe have used just a little more rosemary -- the piney-ness works well with the citrus flavors.
posted by mudpuppie at 1:15 PM on December 17, 2010

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