So I’m a fan of cocktails (martinis especially), and I want to start making them at home. That may sound easy enough, but there’s a problem: Most cocktail recipes call for two or three types of liqueurs, and each bottle costs anywhere from 20 to 30 bucks. Is it really worth it to spend 100 bucks or more at the LCBO just so I can make a cocktail once a week? I don’t think so!
I found a budget-friendly alternative: make your own flavoured liqueur. Instead of buying several expensive bottles of liqueur from the store, you can just buy one big bottle of vodka and make loads of smaller bottles infused with whatever fruits or seasonings you choose. You can also make as much or as little as you want so you don’t get stuck with a huge bottle of some obscure flavour you rarely use (like the lychee liqueur that’s sitting on my sideboard table).
As a fan of raspberry martinis, I decided to make raspberry liqueur first. The following recipe is ridiculously easy to follow and requires no special equipment. The instructions are based off the basic fruit liqueur recipe from LiqueurWeb. Feel free to substitute the raspberries with blackberries, strawberries, or whatever other fruit you want.
Homemade Raspberry Liqueur
You Will Need
- 3 cups 80 proof vodka OR 1 1/5 cups pure grain alcohol with 1 1/2 cups of water
- 1 pound raspberries
- 1 1/4 cup white sugar
- glass jar(s) with lids
- fine-mesh metal strainer or a jelly strainer bag
- decorative glass jar (optional)
Wash the raspberries and place them into the jar with the vodka. Cover with a lid and store in a cool, dark place for 2 to 4 weeks. Make sure the berries are completely submerged. Stir the mixture once a week.
After 2 to 4 weeks, strain the raspberry-infused vodka. A jelly strainer bag works well here. Discard the berries (or save them to use as a dessert topping).
Return the infused vodka to the jar and add the sugar, stirring until it dissolves. Cover with a lid and store it in a cool, dark place for at least 3 months. The flavor will develop as it ages.
After 3 months, your flavoured liqueur is ready to use! Do a taste test and add more sugar if you think it needs it. Pour the mixture into a decorative jar (if using) and add it to your liqueur collection.
I quartered the recipe, so it ended up filling only half the bottle. I couldn’t find any smaller bottles that looked cute, so this will have to do for now. Perhaps in the future I’ll order specialty bottles online.
In case anyone is wondering where I got the custom label, I designed it with GIMP and printed it on sticker project paper, which you can find at office supply stores.
Have you ever made your own liqueur, wine, beer, or other alcohol? How did it turn out?