The Basics: Fruit liqueurs can be made with almost any garden or hedgerow fruits. I say 'almost any' because there are a few that I don't make with this method, namely elderberries. Always cook elderberries before eating. Never eat raw elderberries. If you'd like to make elderberry liqueur, which is delicious, cook the elderberries first with water and sugar, to make a syrup, then add the alcohol. When making liqueurs, you can use vodka, gin, brandy, or whiskey. Brandy has always been the 'traditional' choice when making fruit liqueurs (It's my favourite). I always recommend using what you like, because you'll enjoy the finished product so much more. You can get a really vibrant colour on your liqueur if you use vodka and gin, because of their clear colour. You can still get a great colour using brandy and whisky, depending on what fruits you use. Speaking from experience, blackberries and blueberries always give a great colour. When making fruit liqueurs, you can use both fresh and frozen fruit. Fresh if you've got time to pick and make, frozen if you've got time to pick but not enough time to make. Most of my batches are made from frozen. I always seem to have lots of things that need doing, and not enough time to do them in. I'm also easily distracted, and have been known to pick things, leave them, forgotten, on the side somewhere, before remembering too late, and "oh no!", off the remains go to the compost bin. This is extremely frustrating, so for me, popping the fruit into the freezer and then coming back to it later, is the way to go. If you're one of those people who is incredibly 'together', very organised, always gets things done on time, and is never late, well..... you can use fresh berries. Both will taste lovely! Now, for the fun.....
Autumn Fruits Liqueur Ingredients:
- Fresh or frozen fruits of your choice (garden/hedgerow fruit, rose hips, hawthorn berry etc)
- Spirit alcohol of your choice - vodka, gin, brandy or whisky
- Caster Sugar
- clean sterilised glass jars or bottles
Making delicious Autumn Fruit Liqueurs:
- Place your fresh/frozen fruit into a clean, sterilised glass jar or bottle, until the jar/bottle is approximately 3/4 full. (If you weigh the fruit first, so that you know how much you have in weight, this will make step 2 easier.)
- Add caster sugar. (The weight of the fruit and the weight of the sugar should be about equal. If you use 500g fruit, use 500g sugar. If you're using sweet fruit you can add less sugar to start, and then add more sugar as you go along, if you want it sweeter.)
- Pour the spirits into the jar, making sure that the fruit is covered, and filling the jar. Some fruits will sink to the bottom, while others will float. Don't worry about it, because you'll be shaking the mixture every few days.
- Cap the jar tightly, place in a cool, dark place, and leave to steep for a few weeks or months, shaking every few days. If using blackberries, don't leave more than a month as the flavour gets 'woody'. If using other fruits, the longer it steeps, the better it tastes.
- Strain the mixture through a clean muslin cloth to remove the fruit. (Hint: These alcohol soaked fruits are delicious and can be used in cakes & puddings)
- Not long to go now! Taste the liqueur, add more caster sugar, if desired. Pour the mixture back into clean, sterilised bottles and store in a cool, dark place.
- Enjoy at your leisure.....
Homemade summer & autumn fruit liqueurs make wonderful festive gifts at Christmas. If using frozen fruit, you can make and enjoy them throughout the year.