I have edited these in form and content - these should not be construed as the exact words of the people credited with the information. Also, many recipes mailed to me have found their way into the Well Known Liqueurs page rather than this, the Submitted Liqueurs.
This first batch is from Linda Cunningham, http://www.his.com/~fandl/linda.html, who has been making liqueurs at home for many years. These are all recipes she uses, and their origins have been lost in time.
A few notes: My tastes run to using less sweetener than the recipes state as well, and a tsp of glycerine per bottle of the clear ones (crème de menthe is a good example) will provide that extra bit of body.
I specify "pure" extracts and they will make a *noticeable* difference in the final product. They should be available at most grocery stores and at specialty shops. Wagner's brand have always done well by me; they tend to be a little more expensive, but they are worth it.
The aging times here are minimum. The longer you can keep them stashed without opening, the better the final product will be. I know, it's hard!
Straining fruits out of the alcohol is a time-consuming process. Turn on the answering machine, be patient, use lots of cheesecloth wrung out in cold water for the first few runs (increasing the number of layers each time) and finish off with disposable (or those nifty gold) coffee strainers (every office has a million for the asking!). Let gravity do the work, and keep the bottles covered to keep the alcohol from evaporating while waiting. [Note - see my page on Filtering Techniques as well.]
If you use honey, you'll notice a tendency for the drinks to throw a deposit. It's harmless, but if you plan on presenting the bottle, you might want to decant. I do, and then sample the dregs. Quality control, don't you know.... :-)
The Noirot extracts are also good. I also tend to cut down the sugar they suggest. Here is a quickie recipe for a good sugar syrup.
[This is a different recipe for sugar syrup than given elsewhere. At first glance, this recipe and mine are interchangeable, but if you try these, I'd recommend following her instructions closely the first time.]
Equal parts of sugar (white or brown) and water, bring to a boil and simmer for five minutes. Cool before adding to recipe. Can also use an equivalent amount of honey. Sometimes you want the colour or taste of brown sugar; in fact I prefer it for the "brown" liqueurs like Amaretto, other times, you want it to be clear. Let your conscience (and taste for refined sugar) be your guide. Using standard honey for most recipes works well, but exotic flavoured ones (alfalfa for the Drambuie, orange blossom for the Grand Marnier) can turn an ordinary homemade beverage into something quite extra-ordinary.
I mostly do up a batch at a time and pour anything I have left into clean bottle and store in the back of the fridge until next time. As long as it's *scrupulously* clean, nothing will grow in it. Most of the time I use honey, though, except for things like clear crème de menthe where colour *does* make a difference.
But before we delve into the liqueur recipes, an afterdinner drink using those homemade liqueurs: "Here's a bar drink in western Canada that I have to give specific instructions for anytime I want one elsewhere. It's great during the winter."
Into a brandy snifter, pour .75 oz each Amaretto and Grand Marnier. Have a pot of Earl Grey tea on the side and pour into the snifter onto the liqueurs. Sip and enjoy, pouring more tea if desired.
Shake in a 1 liter bottle. Can be consumed right away, but is better if aged 2 weeks.
Combine berries with 2 c. brandy, steep for 1 week. strain through jelly bag. Add remaining brandy and sweetener, bottle.
(The longer you can let this sit, the better. You might want to have several thicknesses of cheesecloth and some disposable coffee filters around to strain this, and wear rubber gloves -- blackberries will stain your hands something fierce, but the resulting beverage is a favourite in our home, poured into a brandy snifter for after dinner enjoyment with some Earl Grey tea. It's also the best thing for an upset stomach.)
Combine, bottle and shake well. Age 2 weeks.
Mash up dates, add vodka, steep 1 week. Strain, add syrup and bottle. Age a month.
(This looks really weird, and you have to do the steeping in a glass bowl to make sure you get the dates out, but it tastes great!)
Crush or chop rosemarry, add to Scotch, let stand overnight (or two). Strain, add honey, shake well. Decant after 2-3 weeks in bottle. Age for as long as possible (in our house, this means "until dinner tonight"!).
Mix all, steep 1 month, clarify and bottle.
The tea leaves should be steeped in the vodka for only 24 hours; longer makes the liqueur bitter. Shake the jar or bottle well when you add the leaves. Add the sweetener and colouring the next day.
Shake and store in refrigerator. Shake every day or so, and before serving. Can be consumed within a week, but better after two.
Combine sugars with 2 c. water. Boil 5 minutes. Gradually add coffee, using a wire wisk until blended, cool. Pour into tall bottle, add vodka and vanilla. Cover and let stand for at least two weeks. Remove vanilla bean if used. Makes about 40 oz.
Remove zest from fruit, steep in vodka for 2 weeks. Strain, add sweetener and bottle.
Equal parts of pure maple syrup and good quality Canadian rye whiskey. Bottle, shaking daily, age 2+ weeks stored in refrigerator.
Next comes the first of what I hope will be many recipes from Paul Knorr.
A few days ago, I posted a question in rec.food.drink regarding Spiced Rum, asking how it was made. Jennifer Harris answered, saying that it was basically just rum with vanilla extract. So I set out to test this, and I think that I now have a good recipe for spiced rum (much cheaper than buying it).
Place in bottle and shake. Requires no aging although it may need to settle after shaking.
I hope this makes another addition to your collection.
From Jane Carpenter:
Put all ingredients in a jar and seal tightly. Put it under your sink and forgot about it for awhile [ed. note: most liqueurs in this vein seem to like 3 months to steep]. Strain and let apricots drain and dip in chocolate. Drink, eat, and enjoy!