This article is from the Food Preserving FAQ, by Eric Decker email@example.com with numerous contributions by others.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Teresa Bruckner)
Subject: Re: HOMEMADE LIQUEURS
INSTRUCTIONS FOR MAKING FRUIT LIQUEUR
(Tested on raspberries, blackberries and a mix of both).
Start with fresh fruit. Place cleaned fruit into a jar. Add very strong
alcohol just so it barely covers all of the fruit. I used double distilled
vodka (alcohol content probably about 55-65%). Beware though- Apparently
operating a still is VERY illegal ;-)
Let the covered jar sit for about a week and a half (it's covered so
the alcohol doesn't evaporate). Note that no fermentation takes place
here- all that happens is that the fruit soaks up the alcohol, and releases some
of its juices. Depending on the type of fruit the level of fluid may
decrease. Once you've decided that the fruit has soaked in much of the alcohol
gently pour off the fluid so as not to blemish the fruit (try one now for a
taste experience :-). Call this (very strong) fluid rack #1.
During the following steps you probably should avoid blemishing the fruit if
at all possible.
Replace the fruit in the jar, but layer it with sugar. How much sugar is a
bit difficult to say here. I usually tried to do my best to cover almost all
of the fruit with _some_ sugar. Cover the jar again. What happens now is
that the sugar makes the fruit give off its alcohol and shrivel slightly.
In a couple of days the level of juice in the jar should reach almost the
top of the fruit. This means it is time to pour it off again. Call this
Now we repeat the layering with sugar step (getting rack#3, rack#4, etc)
until only a very small amount of juice is released. I have been told that
with cherries this can be kept up until only a tiny little bit of cherry
skin is surrounding the pit. Each rack is sweeter and sweeter.
With rasp[black]berries I got to rack #4 and then got bored waiting for
really small amounts of juice. So I took the berries, threw them into a
cloth and twisted the hell out them to release the vestiges of alcohol and
juice. This was rack#5. The left over pulp can be used with ice-cream.
Note that rack#5 is entirely optional, four racks were plenty enough (but
why waste alcohol :-). Now comes the fun part. Invite several friends (I
used 5) and mix the different racks in various proportions and get some
feedback on how they taste (too sweet, too alcoholic, too dry, etc). Don't
use too many friends or else you won't have any left after the tasting. Now
you should know what proportions to mix the final product in. Disposing of
juice _not_ used in the final mix is left as an exercise to the reader (I
had some sweet stuff left over and use it on ice cream).
Thoughts on the final mix:
In my case the final mix was very close to the ratio of rack#1: rack#2:
rack#3 etc. This was convenient because I got the maximum of liqueur with
Afterword: After a visit to a friends house in Poland and a sampling of his
Cherry Liqueur (THE BEST liqueur I have EVER tasted)- I have decided to make
liqueur also. Here are the directions he gave me (for cherry liqueur):
Fill a Jar with cherries. Add alcohol to cover all the cherries. Let sit
for a week or so, by this time the cherries should have swelled and there
should be less liquid in the jar. Pour off the liquid.
a)Layer the cherries with sugar and let sit another week.
b)Pour off resulting fluid.
c)Repeat steps a) and b) until the cherries are so small that they're
just basically the pit covered with a very thin skin.
Now mix all the batches that you poured off to suit your taste. The
first is most bitter, the last is the sweetest.