What family recipes are hiding in your closet?
February 12, 2007 7:40 AM   Subscribe

LiqueurFilter: After realizings that vodka + sugar + instant coffee + water + vanilla + chocolate and carmel syrup to taste makes a decent version of Kahlua, I am looking for other good liqueur recipes.

This is not a moonshine question. I will not be making alcohol. This is much more about turning one bottle of booze into another.

The whole thing came about when my roommate built a bar for the house and wanted to stock it. I didn't want to spend a bunch of money on stuff I wouldn't drink so I made some stuff out of cheap vodka. I've made Coffee Liqueur, and Cinnamon and butterscotch Liqueurs. The last two made by melting hard candies and adding vodka. Now I'm interested in making something of a higher quality.
posted by magikker to Food & Drink (16 answers total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
Check out Infusions of Grandeur, where a couple of guys try to infuse vodka with various different flavours.
posted by Jeanne at 7:53 AM on February 12, 2007

Buy yourself a copy of Cordials from Your Kitchen

My partner and I have been making home-brew cordials for about 2 years now. We've used about 2 dozen of the recipes in the book. Nearly every one was a smashing hit.

A few hints:
1. Rather than using vodka, buy Everclear, and cut it with purified water to get the appropriate "proof" listed in the recipe. I've found that it's about as expensive as starting off with cheap vodka, but the flavor improves dramatically.

2. Follow the book's advice on racking. Get yourself 3 feet of vinyl tubing from your hardware store's plumbing dept. to rack. Then filter the rest with a coffee filter rubber-banded to a mason jar.

3. Be patient. Most cordials mellow in time. What tastes like turpentine after a month could taste like the nectar of the gods in 6 months.

4. I can't speak for any of the "instant" cordials that use syrup or artificial flavors, except for one. Try the Cinnamon Bam. You won't be disappointed.

5. Buy clean Mason jars. Black raspberry liquor aged for 8 months in a pickle jar tastes like pickle liquor. I could have cried.

As an experiment, we will try making a batch using 100% Everclear, and THEN add the water and simple syrup after the aging is complete. It may retard bacterial growth. We had one batch of banana liquor turn on us.
posted by doctorcurly at 7:55 AM on February 12, 2007 [1 favorite]

My dad had great success making his own Limoncello. It's super easy and it was quite good, perfect for summer. Here is a recipe.
posted by contessa at 8:13 AM on February 12, 2007 [1 favorite]

Homebrew suppliers will sell flavor extracts for making your own "liqueur." The ones I've seen have you making your own alcoholic base by fermenting sugar syrup and then adding flavoring — but I'm sure you can use the same flavorings with storebought distilled alcohol.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:37 AM on February 12, 2007

Sloe gin and sloe vodka are delicious. Simply fill an empty bottle half full of sloe berries, top off with sugar and allow to sit until sugar dissolves/berries liquefy, then fill with gin/vodka and let bottle sit in cupboard for as long as you can handle not drinking it, a year makes it great but at least 3 months makes it reasonable. You can use less sugar if you're not sweet toothed but bear in mind sloes are pretty bitter.
posted by biffa at 8:45 AM on February 12, 2007

Umeshu is Japanese plum brandy. A lot of people in Japan make it at home; the ingredients are Japanese plums (ume), rock sugar, and "white liquor" (basically, vodka). If you've got a Japanese grocery in your area, they may have the ume, and they may even have umeshu kits.

Note: do not confuse umeboshi with ume, or you'll be very sad (see doctorcurly, point 5, above).
posted by adamrice at 8:57 AM on February 12, 2007

Mmmm, pickle liquor. It would have been amazing if that's what was anticipated!

On the Limoncello tip, I was making the standard version when my husband asked me to leave the sugar syrup out, since he found it too sweet. Now we usually have a bottle of decent quality vodka with two inches of zested lemon rind at the bottom in a dark cupboard, getting progessively yellower and more delicious as the volume magically decreases. Just add fresh sugar syrup to taste, or don't.
posted by Scram at 9:31 AM on February 12, 2007

check out the beverages and libations forum on egullet. Specifically, the Making Limoncello thread, and the vodka infusions thread.

I still have about a case worth of infused vodkas, and homemade liquers left from my last whirlwind of making them. They do only get better with age--especially the ginger-vanilla vodka. mmm.
posted by kumquatmay at 10:06 AM on February 12, 2007

Speaking of the egullet forums, don't forget this classic MeFi thread.
posted by Partial Law at 11:09 AM on February 12, 2007

Do not use any vodka that you wouldn't drink straight. Wait until something good goes on sale and stock up.Get vodka with a screw cap, if you want to keep them in the freezer. The cork tops don't like the freezer. I have a box of EZ Cap bottles and labels at the ready for easy gift giving. I get them at the local homebrew place. In our pantry we have 1-qt mason jars of nutmeg, clove, cinnamon and chipotle infused vodkas. You can't really wreck them, you just might need to blend any unwanted characteristics out of them. We infuse seasonally, with whatever is fresh and on sale. At Xmas time we use the pumpkin pie spices. We made an excellent cranberry- orange 2 yrs ago. I have never tried using everclear, but I am planning to use rum next.

posted by SMELLSLIKEFUN at 11:15 AM on February 12, 2007

I made my own Glayva once by putting a chai teabag into a jar filled with Scotch.

Any flavored tea would infuse your booze.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 11:28 AM on February 12, 2007

Bailey's Irish creme. I'd use espresso rather than instant coffee myself.
posted by Roger Dodger at 11:49 AM on February 12, 2007

I've read that you can make a passable version of aquavit by mixing 2 t caraway seeds, 1 t fennel seeds, 2 t dill seeds, 2 star anise, 1 T coriander seeds, 1 whole clove, 1 cinnamon stick, 1-inch long, 2 t cumin seeds, and 1 liter vodka.

You put all of the ingredients into the vodka, and let steep, shaking every 2 or 3 days, for 2 weeks or more. Then strain out the additives and put your infused vodka in the freezer and serve in chilled glasses, an ounce at a time.
posted by Dave Faris at 12:27 PM on February 12, 2007

A compendium of links that should give you something to do for a long time.
posted by SMELLSLIKEFUN at 1:48 PM on February 12, 2007

I've been served something made with dried apricots, sugar, and vodka. Quite tasty.

I would presume you could do this with any dried fruit.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 5:40 PM on February 12, 2007

I've made a few liqueurs frm Gunther Anderson's site. This blueberry liqueur is great mulled as a winter warmer, or with lemonade and mint in summer, when it turns a lovely shade of violet.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 6:39 PM on February 12, 2007

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