Homemade Quince Liqueur





Introduction: Homemade Quince Liqueur

Quinces are a unique and fragrant fruit, but only recently have I seen non-specialty grocery stores start carrying them. Shaped somewhat like a deformed apple, quinces are native to Asia and have been consumed for thousands of years by the Greeks and Romans. When ripe, quinces have a strong aroma reminiscent of apples, pears, and tropical fruit like guava. Quinces start turning up in the tropical/weird fruit aisles of grocery stores in mid-Fall when the leaves start to turn. Typically astringent and sour when consumed raw, quinces lose this character when cooked and become sweet and fragrant- often finding their way into jams, preserves, and jellies due to their high pectin content. Thankfully, you can also get all of these unique quince characteristics by infusing them in alcohol and turning them into a fragrant and mellow amber liqueur. Quinces make for a unique and delicious liqueur that I've yet to see on any store shelves, and make for a truly great gift or a way to weather the holidays.

Step 1: What You'll Need

- 2-3 large quinces (or more, depending on container size)
- Quantity of decent vodka, or other suitable hard liquor (enough to fill container)
- Quart sized mason jar (or other airtight container)
- Knife and cutting board
- Time (4+ weeks)
- A cool, dry place
- Coffee filters
- Funnel
- 2 or more cups sugar
- Decorative bottle of choice (for finished liqueur)

Time is the most important ingredient here. Select quinces that have a fragrant smell, and aren't too bruised or blemished- since quinces are relegated to the section of the grocery store where weird things go to die, you might have some trouble finding perfect quinces.

Step 2: Preparation: Cleaning

Pick your container. In this case, I used a quart sized mason jar, but any seal-able airtight container of any size will do. Be aware this means you'll need more quinces and more alcohol.

Wash your quinces thoroughly in very hot, soapy water. You don't want your liqueur taking on any wax or pesticides, do you? When it comes to washing and sterilizing your container, a run through the dishwasher should work just fine. If not, run it under scalding hot water with soap until the water runs clear and the jar is very hot to the touch. 

Step 3: Preparation: Knifework

You'll need a sharp knife and some cutting skills at this point. Quinces have very hard centers, so be careful when cutting through. You'll want thin slices for your liqueur- the more surface area exposed to alcohol, the better. Make sure to cut out the seeds and pith from the centers of your slices. It took approximately two whole quinces to fill up my quart jar-  you may need more or less depending on the size and how you pack your container.

I've seen recipes for grating quinces up and then going through the same process, and am currently making a batch this way- I'll let you know how it goes.

Step 4: Alcohol Time

Time to add the alcohol!
Pack the slices of quince into the mason jar or airtight container of your choice. You'll want to make sure the container is filled with your fruit, but not packed horribly tight- you want the fruit surface to be exposed to the alcohol as much as possible. Fill your container up to the start of the rim, or further. You want to reduce the amount of fruit exposed to the air. Surprisingly enough, decomposing fruit doesn't make for the best liqueur.  

Step 5: Time

Seal your container and store it in a cool, dry place for AT LEAST 4 weeks. The longer you let it sit, the stronger the flavor will be. By the end of it the liqueur will have taken on a nice golden-amber hue.

Step 6: Decant and Filter

Once you feel your liqueur has sat long enough- either by taste or impatience, it's time to filter all the particulate and spent fruit from it. Take a funnel along with a standard coffee filter (you may need more than one filtering to catch all the particulate). Pour your liqueur slowly into the funnel taking care not to overfill, and wait for it to drip through to your bottle of choice underneath. Impatience and tapping the funnel to speed it up could lead to a ripped filter, so take your time. You've waited a month, 20 more minutes won't hurt.

You can either discard the fruit now (the flesh will taste bitter and harsh if you try and take a bite) or you can use it in the next step, sweetening your infusion and turning it into a liqueur.

Step 7: Awww Sugar Sugar

Not satisfied with quince infused vodka? Turn it into liqueur! All that's required in this step is the addition of sugar. You can add a dose of simple syrup (be aware this will lower the alcohol content), suffer through trying to get granulated sugar to dissolve on its own (not that big of a deal, actually. Just involves time and a lot of shaking), or use a little handy trick I was taught by my family.

Take the discarded fruit, put it in another sterilized jar and add a cup or two of sugar. After a few days (or more, depends on how impatient you are) you will have a quince syrup forming from the leftover moisture in the fruit and the granulated sugar. Decant this into your liqueur through another funnel and filter combo, and you're ready to sip the holidays away.

Step 8: Serve and Enjoy!

My favorite way to serve quince liqueur (besides on its own with a nice meal) is combining it with other warm fall-time drinks.

A shot of quince liqueur in some hot apple cider will hit the spot on a cold day. You could try using other liquors as well for the infusion such as rum or brandy- let me know how they turn out. Enjoy!

CHOW Thanksgiving Recipes Contest

First Prize in the
CHOW Thanksgiving Recipes Contest



  • BBQ Showdown Challenge

    BBQ Showdown Challenge
  • Stick It! Contest

    Stick It! Contest
  • Backpack Challenge

    Backpack Challenge

25 Discussions

Do you think pealing the fruit before slicing it up would make much difference? Also, from quart sized mason jar, how much liquour did you end up with?

2 replies

Wow! This turned out amazingly! At first when I sniffed it (after 6 weeks of curing) I was disappointed; it just smelled boozy with no sweet. Then I filtered it and felt even less optimistic because it looked quite a bit more pale than I expected. I was about to add the simple syrup so I tasted it straight to determine how much syrup you put in and - WOW!! It tastes fantastic! So sweet and flavorful, but still with a nice kick. It even feels a little thick when you drink it, maybe from the high pectin of the fruit. So pleased with the outcome, I just wish I made more! Thank you for this very well put together instructable, and for my new favorite liqueur. <3
PS. to answer my own question, I yielded about 24 ounces of liqueur from a 1 quart Mason jar full of fruit.

What kind of alcohol did you use?

Tell me please. After infusion. Fruit mix with 1 tablespoon of sugar or 2 tablespoons of sugar?

I definitely need to make this soon! Adding a favourite, so I can find it again.

If you have an old brita filter. you can run flavoured liquor through it to remove impurities and haze/

I found some past-it's-prime fruit this summer, things still turned out pretty well even with me throwing away about half of the four quinces I bought.

I followed my limoncello recipe (3x 10-9-8 recipe, which is three lemons, 10 oz of 190 proof, and then later 9oz of sugar and 8 oz of filtered water), using the quinces and cutting away the bad spots.

Two runs through a coffee filter, yet I still had a haze. I let the stuff "settle" (float to the top) inside a "gravy separator" and poured off the bottom. Much clearer now.

It ended up pretty good tasting, but the flavors were a bit weak.

2 replies

Hm. Did the quinces have a strong fruity smell? They may have been picked while unripe, and then started to go bad before they ever fully matured. And did you shred or slice? I found that shredded actually infused more flavor in a shorter amount of time, downside being more filtering. It isn't intense like a limoncello, but it should still have a pretty strong scent.

They had plenty of bad spots in like July, so I have to wonder if they were left over from last year's harvest. I sure had a lot of rot to cut away from each one.

I sliced the fruit after I cut away the bad spots.

If I can ever find quality fruit I'll try this again.

The next step up from homemade limoncello! Looks great.

I usually do this with 190 proof grain and then dilute down to 80 proof with the sugar syrup, but I like your idea too.

4 replies

All the recipes I drew from when putting my version together called for raw fruit, which might be surprising given what some varieties of quince taste like when raw.
I looked up some of the chemistry behind quince aroma and flavor out of curiosity because of this initially- A large percentage of the volatile compounds that account for quince flavor and smell are alcohols and esters, which dissolve very well in alcohol and water.
As far as I can tell, the tannins that make quinces bitter aren't released in the infusion process. Which is a good thing, otherwise quince liqueur would be quite unpleasant.

I just found some quince, I came back to look up the recipe.

Maybe try this with Virginia persimmons too? They're chock full of tannins until softened, at which time you really need to race the raccoons to pick them first.

Sure! Give it a try! Maybe I've never had an amazing persimmon, but from my experience their flavor is really delicate. I'm interested in how it'd turn out.

How did the grated quince turn out? I am one of the few people in my circle who have much to do with quince - I think it's an old fashioned country fruit (here in Australia at least). It's a pity that it doesn't have that rich pink colour. I might try and make they syrup by cooking up the quince bits (or grated quince) with the sugar until it turns pink. What do you think?

1 reply

It turned out better than the sliced version- it was sweeter and had a stronger flavor. The more surface area of the fruit you have touching alcohol, the less time it has to take to develop those stronger flavors. Bear in mind it took waay longer to filter the grated one because there's more stuff floating around.

Try cooking it first and then infusing is my suggestion! I've never tried getting that pink color, but any infused fruit tends to go bitter and nasty the longer it loses its flavors to the alcohol.

You'd be right IF this process produced any alcohol. Infusing fruits, vegetables and herbs in alcohol only imparts flavors to the alcohol. There is no fermentation or distillation. Only modification of existing alcohol used.

2 replies

Congratulations on your win in the Thanksgiving contest! Neat Instructable!