Introduction: Strawberry Liqueur & Cocktail
What says spring/summer more than bright tasty berries? You can use this technique for any fruit or herb.
Technically I think this is a schnapps rather than liqueur because I didn't add sugar to it. Sugar addition is up to you. I like to add it when making a cocktail so I can control the amount.
Step 1: How To
Whether you cut your berries or fruit up will depend on the fruit. Smaller things like blueberries or tart cherries you'd likely leave whole. I cut these strawberries up to try to pack more into the jar.
Fill the jar with fruit and top off with your alcohol. Then let it sit for 2 days to a week. You can let it sit longer if you desire.
Look at those berries in the jar . . . reminds me of the head in a jar in Silence Of The Lambs.
This time I used a 40% vodka. Previously I've used grain alcohol like Golden Grain, Clear Springs, or Everclear. I've also contemplated using gin, but haven't tried it yet.
Any of those alcohols will do. The 95% stuff is probably better if you're planning on sweetening the final product. It allows you to sweeten as much as you like and then control the dilution of the alcohol. I typically try to get 35% to 45% alcohol in the final product.
One thing you will notice with 95% alcohol extraction is that it'll bring out more of the fruits oils and various other things. Once mixed down with sugar syrup or just water to 40% you can get haze or sediment formation from things coming out of suspension in the alcohol. If that happens just run your product through some kind of filtration: coffee filters, cloth, even a charcoal filter if you have one and feel like experimenting.
Step 2: Strain and Drain
After you soak your fruits for your desired time strain off your booze and store it in a tight sealing container. You can age it or use it straight away. Up to you. Try keeping some aside and testing it every so often to see if it improves with time.
Look at those gross post-soak berries. Look like blobs of raw meat.
Step 3: Cocktail
I leaning toward calling this drink Summer Nog, but it doesn't have eggs in it. I guess that could be added, but this worked well by itself. Maybe Summer Grog? Or Strawberry Happy Hour.
You could add extra vodka to the drink to get a little more volume, but you'll be reducing flavor a little and upping the alcohol taste. I thought this turned out well. And you can use those cute little glasses that you never get to use, the ones sitting in the back of your cabinets.
2 oz of Strawberry booze
2 tsp of fine bar sugar (regular sugar pulverized in a blender)
1 - 2 tsp lemon juice (depending on how tart you like it)
1 dash of orange bitters
1 tablespoon of homemade creme fraiche (or heavy cream)
Fill a shaker with the above ingredients and shake with a lot of ice. I like ending up with the little ice crystals floating around. Pour into a cocktail glass and garnish with a dollop of the creme fraiche or whipped cream. I used the creme fraiche and it just kind of lurked under the surface, breaking up as you sipped. It was nice. If I'd have had extra strawberries I might have skewered one with a toothpick and let it hang around in there, bathing in the blood of its kind. Horrific!
Anyway, drink up and enjoy.