Crabapple/Cranberry Liqueur





Introduction: Crabapple/Cranberry Liqueur

Having made several liqueurs from various local fruit over the years, I, and those lucky enough to try my liqueurs, have found the Crabapple and the Cranberry liqueurs to be the most enjoyable. Both of these fruits have a tartness that balances out the sweetness and almost makes it refreshing.
Many that said they didn't like liqueurs changed their minds after trying these.

You will need

4 liter glass "pickle jar" with a lid that seals.

1.5 - 2 liters vodka or the equivalent ( 40-50% alc. ). For some reason I usually end up using 2 liters of 50%.

3-4 cups sugar. ( I usually prefer 3 cups for most fruits)

Enough fruit to fill jar to overflowing.

Things that are handy to have.

Mini fruit press
Bottles with lids
Extra jars
Coffee filters

Step 1: Filling the Jar

Put "vodka" and sugar into jar.

Cut crabapples in half and add to jar until "vodka" is about to overflow. Put one more apple on top and close lid.
You want as little air as possible in the jar.

No I don't core or do anything special with the apples, just cut in half and a quick look for undesirables. I did quarter some of these as they were larger than normal. With the cranberries I do find you get better colour if you pop them first.

Step 2: Wait 2 Weeks

During the waiting period you are NOT ALLOWED to open the lid!

Carefully shaking the jar and mixing the sugar is allowed and encouraged.

Step 3: Opening the Jar

Time to pour it off and sample it.

I use a cheese cloth bag to pour the fruit into.
If you made a blackberry or other soft fruit liqueur, now is when you decide if you are going to use the fruit on ice cream or press it.

As you can see in the pictures I use a mini fruit press to press the fruit and I get anywhere from 750 ml to a liter more liqueur by pressing the fruit.

Step 4: Pressing

Clamp your press to a solid base.

Using a cheese cloth bag inside the press makes for easy cleanup.

Turn press until there is a solid resistance. Leave it for a few min and then give another turn. It is amazing how much more you can get by giving a 1/4 turn every 10 min or so.

I was in a hurry and pressed this in under an hour and you can see in the two pictures how much more we got. And yes there are 3 glasses of liqueur missing from the full jar.

Step 5: Clearing

It is important to me to produce a quality product. There is always a stab of disappointment when a friend says "Hey you have to try this .... " and they pour a sample and there is a dash of sludge with it. No matter how good it is, it would have been better without.

I like to let it sit in a clean jar/ bottle for a few weeks / months until it is clear. Carefully in a single pour I pour it into a clean jar leaving the sludge behind. I then pour the liqueur through a coffee filter and bottle it.
The sludge is also put through a coffee filter and bottled but is kept for me as there is a good chance it will settle out more sediment.

Some pictures of different liqueurs at different stages.

Step 6: Enjoy!!!

I bottle it in 150 ml bottles so when you give it to someone you are not giving 1/4 of your stock. 150 ml gives you 4 servings. It lets you share it with 20 people instead of 4.

Hope you enjoyed my first instructable and will take the time to enjoy some Crabapple Liqueur or Cranberry.

If you have any favorite fruits you use to make liqueurs or schnapps, or questions. I would love to hear from you in the comments.



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    25 Discussions

    I also make liqueurs from fresh fruit. My greatest success so far has been our own cantaloupe.

    I have 2 quarts of concentrated crabapple juice that I prepared to make jelly. Have you ever tried using the juice to make the liqueur instead of the fruit itself?

    2 replies

    I haven't done that before but if it was pure juice I would use it to dilute the alcohol down to the % that I want (20-24% for my taste). With it being concentrated you may want to water it down first. Mix to taste. 2L vodka 1L juice and 3 cups sugar would probably be a nice place to start. Make adjustments from there to taste. Let me know what your final mix is.

    Thank you for your quick reply! I started with 7 1/2 pounds of crabapples, added 5 cups of water and simmered until they were soft. Mashed them, simmered 10 more minutes then strained the juice through cheesecloth. I described it as concentrated only because I squeezed it while straining.

    Thank you for your suggestions. I'll let you know what happens.


    1 year ago

    Where did you get your mini fruit press, look for one but cant find?

    1 reply

    I sell them in my shop. Are you in B.C.?

    I got my first one done and it was awesome! I just did apple to try it out. Thanks for this great idea

    1 reply

    Glad you liked it. I just pressed another cranberry yesterday that I added a bit of juice to as well and the colour came out much darker. I think I like it without the extra juice better, both are great though. I want to try Choke Cherry next season and Oregon Grape, both have a tartness that should help balance the sweet.

    When you first pour the vodka and sugar in the jar, do you make sure the sugar is fully dissolved in the vodka before adding the fruit? Or do you just mix the two without dissolving the sugar?

    1 reply

    After the lid is on I turn it upside down and spin it back and forth a little until the sugar settles to the lid, then let it sit upright for a day (or until I walk past again). I give it a bit of a mix most days, the sugar is usually dissolved after the first few days.

    During the waiting period should it be cooled or just left at room temp?

    1 reply

    I just leave it at room temp.. Chemical reactions are slower at colder temperatures and we don't want to wait too long. High temperatures destroy proteins and proteins give flavours. Some times that is a good thing some times not.

    How much was the mini fruit press you use and where did you get it from?

    1 reply

    I got it from one of my wholesalers, you should be able to find something similar for $120-$250 depending on size and style. If you get one under $120 then well done. I am not sure if there is much price difference between Canada and US for mini fruit presses.

    Great instructable!
    I made my christmas gifts this year-cranberry infused's what I did:
    (First batch turned out too good-when taste testing we "accidentally" drank 1/2gallon lol, had to make more)

    Cranberry vodka
    1/2 cup white sugar
    1 cup water
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 1/2 cups cranberries
    1 orange rind
    2 cloves
    3 cups mid- to low-priced vodka
    Cooking directions
    Combine sugar, water and extract in a saucepan. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a low boil, about 6 minutes. Add cranberries and cook until berries begin to split and liquid turns a light pink, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat and cover. Allow to cool.
    While liquid is cooling, remove orange rind using a potato peeler. Gently pull skin away from the pith in wide strips. Place rind into a 2-quart wide-mouthed jar with a tight fitting lid. Add cloves. Gently pour cranberry mixture into jar. Add vodka. Seal and store in a cool, dark place for up to two weeks, shaking the bottle gently periodically.
    Strain contents through metal sieve first and then through coffee filters into a clean bottle for storage. Store in a cool dark place to mellow. Serve in shot glasses or cocktails or from a martini shaker or on rocks.

    1 reply

    I think I will have to try this next. I love the cranberry sauce with orange in it so I think this will be nice too.
    Thanks for the input.

    Great instruct able! I wish I'd had something this clear when I'd gotten started. :)

    I've found frozen raspberries to be quite good. (and requested often!) I've made it with both fresh and frozen berries, but I always seem to get a lot more flavor from the frozen ones. I figure that the freezing has broken down the cells to release more flavor, and unless you pick them yourself, frozen berries are usually picked much closer to ripe than the fresh ones in the store. Most of that kind of berry responds the same to freezing. Pineapple has been equally good fresh or frozen; canned was interesting, but very different and not as tasty. Most of the rest have been better fresh, or no good frozen source was available.

    Of all the fruits I've tried, the raspberry seems to take the sugaring to an almost syrupy cordial the best, if you like that sort of thing.

    Something I had to learn by trial and error, since I couldn't find any info about it when I started years back, was how to make these more diabetic-friendly. (Yes, it IS possible!) My mother has diabetes and adores the raspberry liqueur, so some testing was in order. It turns out that you can replace anywhere between half and all of the sugar with Splenda, if you can tolerate/don't mind the stuff. Not all fruits will mask the aftertaste well, or at all, so wait until after straining to sweeten. From personal testing, with cranberry and cran w/mulling spices we were able to replace 3/4 to all of the sugar with Splenda. Raspberry, blackberry and pineapple each did better with 1/2 to 3/4, depending on how strong and tart the fruit flavors were. Strawberry couldn't take much at all without a noticeable aftertaste.

    I like your ideas about purifying using a coffee and easy...thanks!!

    Hi, I'm going to buy coconut this morning , can't wait to get this underway! My father in law makes our alcohol from our old wine , yes he has a still and a vineyard !! ( we live in Italy) he makes his own Grappa 75% and I use the left overs to make various other concoctions such as limoncello , I've just made a strawberry liqueur from strawberries from the garden that I'd frozen . Thanks for your help , I'll let you know how the coconut goes - probably in a couple of months time :-) Lorajan

    I already make limoncello & plum brandy . I'd like to make a coconut liqueur , I noticed that you do . Two questions , is the process the same ? And what type of coconut do I use( dried, fresh , milk??) ? Thanks for any help you can give me .

    1 reply

    My friend says he used dried coconut and let it soak for a long time. He used 94% alcohol and no sugar, his girlfriend loves it as a mixer. Next time he wants to use fresh coconut and a little sugar then try to separate the oil after.
    OK I just tried his sample and the coconut flavour is nice but not strong. Coconut is not a flavour I want to drink on its own so I would be using it as a mixer too. Maybe a little sugar (1/4 Cup) but most mixes will have sugar and without it, it will just add a nice coconut touch to the drink without sweetening it. You can always add sugar to it later if you find you want it sweeter.
    I would love to hear how you tweek yours and the results.