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
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.