The basic recipe:
- 1 pound (450 g) berries or fruit
- 3 Cups (710 ml) 80-proof vodka (or 1.5 cups pure grain alcohol + 1.5 cups water)
- 1 1/4 Cups (300 ml) granulated sugar
It is easy to make your own liqueurs of fruits and berries. A general recipe is presented above; this recipe can be used for apricots, blackberries, blackcurrants, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, nectarines, peaches, plums and raspberries. There are also other ways for preparing fruit liqueurs, however, this general recipe gives in our opinion always good results.
Fruit liqueurs can also be made with fruit juices, alcohol and sugar; these liqueurs are called “Ratafias“.
General fruit liqueur recipe:
Rinse the fruit or berries. Fruit must be cut into small pieces. Place berries or fruit in a container, add vodka. Cap and store in a cool, dark place, stir once a week for 2 – 4 weeks. Strain through metal colander. Transfer the unsweetened liqueur to an aging container. To 3 cups (710) ml unsweetened liqueur add 1 1/4 cup (300 ml) granulated sugar. Let age for at least three months. Pour carefully the clear liqueur to a new bottle. Add more sugar if necessary.
The fruit used for liqueur making can be used as deserts: mix with sugar and use with ice-cream.
Storage of liqueurs:
The flavor of almost all liqueurs improves during storage. Fruit and berry liqueurs should be stored for at least 6 months for maximum taste. Some lemon liqueurs (e.g. Limoncello) should not be stored for a long time.
Liqueurs should contain approximately 1 cup sugar per 3 cups finished liqueur (300-350 g sugar per liter). If your liqueur is too sweet, add a mixture of vodka and water (1:1).
Sweetness change during storage:
Sugar is converted to glucose and fructose which are simple sugar types with less sweet flavor. Therefore sugar must sometimes be added to homemade liqueurs after storage for some months.
The alcohol content should normally be 20-30% for fruit and berry liqueurs, except for citrus liqueurs which might have higher alcohol content.
If your liqueur has too strong alcohol taste, add some water (or fruit juice) and sugar.
If your liqueur has too low alcohol content, add vodka and sugar.
Liqueurs of fruit mixtures:
Don’t mix more than two types of fruits or berries in liqueurs. You can make successful mixtures of bitter berries with mild ones, like blueberries and cranberries. If you mix more types you might end up with a sweet-sour drink with no interesting flavor.