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Homemade Liqueurs


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#61 eje

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Posted 22 February 2007 - 10:41 AM

I take it, then, that you left the pits in your apricots, to no ill effect?

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Oh, yer right, I forgot my standard disclosure:

I will note that the kernels of all members of the rose family, including apricots, contain cyanogenic glycosides which on ingestion release hydrogen cyanide. The amounts of these chemicals vary from plant to plant and species to species. Bitter almonds generally contain the most, and eating 50-70 raw bitter almonds in one sitting is enough to be fatal for an adult human. Fortunately, in most people, these chemicals are rapidly broken down by the liver, and do not build up over time, so small doses are generally regarded as safe.


If this makes you uncomfortable, by all means, pit your peaches, plums, apricots, pluots, etc.

Though, you usually only use 6-8 plums or apricots per liter of alcohol, so you would probably reach the fatal dose for alcohol (or a diabetic coma) well before you reached the one for cyanide.

The year before last, I chickened out and pitted my plums, pluots, and apricots before making liqueur. I also had not yet read jackal10's method, so didn't freeze. I was pretty unimpressed with the liqueurs I made. Especially the plum.

This year, however, I both froze and left the pits in. The liqueurs were an order of magnitude more complex, and the fruit much better expressed.

I've noticed no ill effects from consumption.
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#62 eje

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Posted 22 February 2007 - 10:45 AM

For the 'lovely almond flavours' though, you have to crack/crush some pits in there. Simply leaving them in won't do the trick.

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The shells surrounding the pits of the plums and apricots did break down inside the fruit over the month that they were steeping, either from the freezing or some chemical action. Maybe dissolved by the acid of the fruit?

I was a bit surprised by this.

Not sure the much sturdier peach pits would do the same.
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#63 hathor

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Posted 22 February 2007 - 10:52 AM

In Umbria, a common home made liquor is made from only from the peach pits. Kills two birds: you get to eat the peach and use the stone. Very thrifty, those Umbrians.

#64 Shanghai Eats (and Drinks...)

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Posted 22 February 2007 - 11:10 AM

Thank eje for the links. I read a Melon Liquer Recipe from one of your links and they are suggesting the use of melon syrup instead of fruit. Has anyone used these syrups before? Do you recommend them? Or roll the dice with some fresh canatloupes instead?

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#65 lagrassa

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Posted 18 March 2007 - 05:00 AM

the pits are the best part for liqueurs! I keep all the fruit pits we eat during the year for grappa.

My method: clean pits, leave in the sun for a couple of weeks. working with a few at a time, wrap in a clean dishcloth and pound them with a hammer to crack them open. pack these pits into a glass jar, cover with grappa. age at least 3 months, filter, drink. the result is bitter and aromatic.

as for poisons, a liter of this stuff lasts me about half a year. it's too strong to consume more than thimblefuls at a time.

#66 cookman

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Posted 11 May 2007 - 08:06 PM

There are lots of recipes out there for making a knockoff of Baileys at home. Anyone have a recipe that they think is close to the real thing in taste?

#67 eje

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Posted 12 May 2007 - 09:54 AM

Hi cookman!

Welcome to Spirits and Cocktails.

While there are recipes for dairy (and egg) based liqueurs, I kind of feel like the possibility of contamination and spoilage of homemade ones, makes them less compelling to make than fruit based liqueurs.

Perhaps someone here will have a killer recipe, I can only refer you to Gunther Anderson's liqueur making website: Liqueur Making, Principles and Techniques. It appears there are a couple well tested Bailey's clones on the recipe page there.
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#68 slkinsey

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Posted 12 May 2007 - 11:56 AM

cookman, for what purpose do you want to make this Baily's knockoff? To give as a gift or to drink on your own at home?

If the latter, the future Mrs. slkinsey turned me on to the best alternative, which is simply to gather together the Irish whiskey of your choice, fresh cream and sugar. Get some ice as well, if you're inclined (we're not). Then mix together as you like it in a rocks glass and enjoy. This is 1,000% better than any bottled Irish Cream you'll ever have, purchased or homemade.
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#69 cookman

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Posted 12 May 2007 - 01:25 PM

While there are recipes for dairy (and egg) based liqueurs, I kind of feel like the possibility of contamination and spoilage of homemade ones, makes them less compelling to make than fruit based liqueurs.

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Thanks for the link. Your comment brings up something I've always wondered about. How is it that a commercially prepared liqueur like Baileys, made with real cream, can be shelf stable for so long? I'm sure that even using ultrapasteurized cream to make a clone of that recipe would not give it stability at room temperature. How do they do it?

#70 eje

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Posted 12 May 2007 - 02:02 PM

Thanks for the link. Your comment brings up something I've always wondered about. How is it that a commercially prepared liqueur like Baileys, made with real cream, can be shelf stable for so long? I'm sure that even using ultrapasteurized cream to make a clone of that recipe would not give it stability at room temperature. How do they do it?

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I guess it's kind of like those creamer things that sit at room temperature forever.

But, I don't really know.

Speaking of a la minute preparations, I'm not a big dairy fancier; but, the Barbary Coast Cocktail is quite nice. Equal parts Scotch Whisky, Gin, Cream, Creme de Cacao, and sometimes Rum. Say 1/2-3/4 oz each. Either shaken and served up, or built over ice in a rocks glass. I'm sure you could use Irish Whiskey, if you were in the mood for a mellower cocktail. You'd just have to call it the "Galway Coast" or "Boston Harbor".
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#71 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 12 May 2007 - 02:19 PM


While there are recipes for dairy (and egg) based liqueurs, I kind of feel like the possibility of contamination and spoilage of homemade ones, makes them less compelling to make than fruit based liqueurs.

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Thanks for the link. Your comment brings up something I've always wondered about. How is it that a commercially prepared liqueur like Baileys, made with real cream, can be shelf stable for so long? I'm sure that even using ultrapasteurized cream to make a clone of that recipe would not give it stability at room temperature. How do they do it?

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The alcohol acts as a preservative, or at least that's the official answer. I wouldn't bet against the possibility that something else is involved as well.
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#72 mbrowley

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Posted 13 May 2007 - 07:59 PM

One of the hassles of moving cross country was pruning, packing, then unpacking the cookery library (I'm down to about 2,000 volumes). Among the liquor books is a clutch dealing primarily with liqueurs and cordials. Most can be picked up online, but here's a smattering of some books on the topic;



Cocconi, Emilio (1975) Liqueurs for All Seasons. (translated from 1974 Italian). Lyceum Books.

Fabiani, Gilvert (2000) Elixirs & Boissons Retrouves. Editions Equinox, Barbentane.

Ferreyol, M. (1999) Manuel Pratique pour la Fabrication Rapide et Economique des Liqueurs et des Spiriteaux sans Distillation. L'Oie de Cravan, Montreal (facsimile of 1899 edition).

Hertzog, Jeanne (1983) Boissons Menageres Vins-Aperatifs, Liqueurs, Sirops. Editions SAEP, Colmar.

de Janze, Gilles (2001) Les Liqueurs: 200 Recettes de Familie. Editions Ouest-France, Rennes.

Lamboley, Philippe (1998). Liqueurs, Sirops et Ratafias. Hachette Livre, Paris.

Meilach, Dona and Mel (1986) Homemade Cream Liqueurs. Contemporary Books.

Meilach, Dona and Mel (1979) Homemade Liqueurs. Contemporary Books.

Simon, Andre L. (1946) English Wines and Cordials. Gramol Publications, London.

Steedman, M.E. (nd) Home-made Beverges and American Drinks. The Food and Cookery Publication Agency, London.

Vargas, Pattie and Rich Gulling (1997) Cordials from Your Kitchen. Storey Publishing.


And I'd be remiss if I didn't throw in my own "Moonshine!" (2007) with recipes for cranberry cordial, sassafrass nip, figgadeen, ice caraway, cherry bounce, etc.



As for online sources, there's a pretty robust ongoing discussion on one of the Yahoo distillers' group: http://groups.yahoo....roup/Distillers

It's worth digging into the archived messages for member recipes...



~ Matthew
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#73 JoshEKG

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Posted 24 May 2007 - 01:41 PM

Anyone have any recipes for some amaros? I read that Del Posto in NY has a radicchio based one - any ideas what's used as flavoring agent besides radicchio? I currently have some limoncello in process and ordered some green walnuts to make nocino next month.

#74 eje

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Posted 24 September 2007 - 04:49 PM

Oh, hey, there's a cocktail coming up in the "Savoy Cocktail Book" with Crème de Noyeau in it.

Are there any decent brands of this available or do I just have to bite the bullet and buy the Hiram Walker?

Substitutions? Red Food Coloring and Luxardo Amaretto di Saschira? That would be ideal, since I've already got both.

Or make my own?

Edited by eje, 27 September 2007 - 08:59 AM.

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#75 bostonapothecary

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Posted 24 September 2007 - 05:31 PM

Oh, hey, there's a cocktail coming up with Crème de Noyeau in it.

Are there any decent brands of this available or do I just have to bite the bullet and buy the Hiram Walker?

Substitutions?  Red Food Coloring and Luxardo Amaretto di Saschira?  That would be ideal, since I've already got both.

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yikes. i could never handle more than a dash of noyeau in a drink... i did incorporate the concept into a cocktail bitter with stone fruit pits, wild cherry bark, and an african flower or two... i think i need to find more uses for it...

on a similar note of substitutes, etc. is the cocktaildb gonna update its creme de violette entry now that the alpenz rothman winter people are so widely available? at the moment the entry promotes Benoit Serres which i've never seen...

i think i'm gonna try some armagnac with the alpenz creme de violette because the idea in the cocktaildb entry seems pretty tastey...
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#76 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 24 September 2007 - 11:37 PM

Host note, moved from Stomping Through the Savoy, A to Zed

Oh, hey, there's a cocktail coming up with Crème de Noyeau in it.

Are there any decent brands of this available or do I just have to bite the bullet and buy the Hiram Walker?

Substitutions?  Red Food Coloring and Luxardo Amaretto di Saschira?  That would be ideal, since I've already got both.

View Post


I've never had Creme de Noyeaux, much less a good one, but in my experience nut liqueurs have sufficiently similar flavor profiles as to allow substitution of one for another in pretty much any recipe. It won't be exactly the same, of course, but the results will still be in the same vein as intended. In other words, yeah, I doubt it's worth it for you to buy a liter of Creme de Noyeaux for 3 recipes unless you just really want to know what it's like.

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#77 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 10:14 AM

I thought Creme de Noyeaux was a true almond liqueur? Though of course most pits and such come out tasting more or less the same in alcohol.
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#78 eje

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 10:36 AM

Hmm... Well, if Creme de Noyeaux is supposed to be a true almond liqueur, that bodes well for the Luxardo Amaretto, which unlike Amaretto di Saronna, is actually made from almonds.

The recipes in jmfangio's books appear to be for homemade replica liqueurs, and they don't appear particularly accurate, I must say.

The drink recipes, on the other hand, are pretty cool looking.
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#79 jmfangio

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 02:24 PM

Here are a couple more recipes, from A Family Medicine Directory published in 1854, and (if you speak French), from Nouveau Manuel Complet du Distillateur Liquoriste, published in 1868.

I'm finding lots of interesting stuff on the Google book search - I'm going on the hunt for defunct bitters recipes. I'll move any further discoveries over to the Cocktail Books or appropriate spirits threads.
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#80 slkinsey

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 02:35 PM

It's not clear to me that crème de noyaux is supposed to be almond liqueur. First, the French word for "almond" is amande not noyau, which means "pit" or "core" (interestingly, another meaning of amande is "kernel"). If you look at the history page for Noyau de Poissy, it says: "Quand et à qui vint l’idée d’utiliser l’amande si parfumée de l’abricot?" Taken together, it would seem that crème de noyaux is apricot kernel liqueur.
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#81 eje

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 05:08 PM

In Duplais, Crème de Noyaux is as follows:

Apricot Seeds  -----  6 kg
Peach Seeds  -------- 2 kg
Bitter Almonds  ------ 2 kg
Alcohol 85 degrees -- 40 liters

Digest and distill (without rectifying) to obtain 40 liters of perfumed spirit.  Then add:

Orange Flower Water -- 2 liters
Best White Sugar ------  56 kg
Water -------------------  20 liters


Kind of a large batch...
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#82 bostonapothecary

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Posted 25 September 2007 - 06:01 PM

it is a ratafia... there are so many recipes. is the word ratafia ever used in the savoy? i like to use it these days... my pomegranite seed ratafia is the chronic... same sugar and alcohol content as cointreau. i've never seen it described in any books... i learned it from an old greek man...

ratafia de noyeau
peach or apricot kernals.

ratafia a la violette
from orris powder, 3oz. litmus 4oz.; rectified spirits 2 gallons.; digest for 10 days, straing and add white sugar 10 pounds dissolved in soft water.

....

ratafia d'angelique
angelica seeds and stocks, almonds,

ratafia de brou de noix
walnuts, with mace, cinnamon and cloves

ratafia de coings
quince juice, bitter almonds, cinnamon and coriander, mace, cloves, sugar

ratafia de grenoble de teyssere
cherries but flavored with noyeau use sugar or capillaire add syrup of the bay laurel and of galangal
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#83 eje

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 12:49 PM

Shrubs, Punches, and "Prepared Cocktails For Bottling" are as far as the "pantry" items go in the "Savoy Cocktail Book". No liqueur or ratafia recipes.
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#84 slkinsey

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 02:13 PM

It's never been clear to me that there is a good definition of "ratafia."

Some sources seem to indicate that ratafia is a liqueur made by infusing alcohol with fruit kernels/pits and/or bitter almongs, and possibly also including fruit and/or herbs -- in which case it is defined by the kernel/pit/bitter almond infusion.

Other sources suggest that ratafia is a fruit based infused liqueur produced either at home or in small farms -- in which case it is defined by the place/way it is produced.

Both are apparently wine-based and quite low in alcohol, which would not give them much similarity with crèmes de noyaux such as Noyau de Poissy or the Duplais recipe.

On the other hand, the 1913 Webster's says it is "A spirituous liquor flavored with the kernels of cherries, apricots, peaches, or other fruit, spiced, and sweetened with sugar; -- a term applied to the liqueurs called noyau, curaçao, etc." So that is needless to say inconsistent as well.
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#85 eje

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 02:49 PM

My understanding is that Ratafias are a subgroup among liqueurs.

The name is Franco-American in origin.

They are always produced by maceration of some substance in alcohol and never, (as far as I know,) distillation.

In my experience, they are often made from whole fruit (or nuts apparently) and frequently include spices or mixtures of fruits.

Duplais again:

THE name Liqueur is generally applied to certain alcoholic drinks prepared by distillation, infusion, or some other operation.  Liqueurs prepared by distillation have the advantage of yielding a product charged with all the aromatic principle of the perfuming material, and yet deprived of free volatile oil, which causes sharpness in liqueurs and disturbs their transparency.

Liqueurs prepared by infusion, or from the essences, never possess the delicacy of flavor and perfume which distinguish those that are distilled, with the exception, however, of the liqueurs prepared from red fruits by infusion, and designated as ratafia.

All liqueurs without exception consist of alcohol, sugar, water, and a perfume or aroma extracted from various substances, all in proportions which vary according to the quality of the article it is desired to produce.


Edited by eje, 27 September 2007 - 08:56 AM.

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#86 bostonapothecary

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 10:29 PM

Getting a bit away from the Savoy; but...

My understanding is that Ratafias are a subgroup among liqueurs.

The name is Franco-American in origin.



arak tafia

to your health ladies and gentlemen... can't wait to make some with the alpenz product... i think some haitians still call it tafia... nothing like cinnamon spiced clairin when you need some courage...
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#87 Tomek

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Posted 29 September 2007 - 06:22 AM

Hi Everyone,

I wanted to try to get some information about something that is very traditional here in Poland (sorry about the long post).

We have a tradition here of making infusions or what the dictionary translates into English as "tinctures". The basic idea is pretty much standard - take something from nature and put it in vodka or usually the recipes specify "rectified spirit" - the really potent 90 ABV flavourless alcohol and sugar. They are usually left to mature for months and if possible even years and almost always dilluted with water at some point in the process.

Making these "nalewka" as they are called is a tradition in our country that goes back centuries and autumn is the time to make them. Some of them are considered to have medicinal properties (like the gralic ones).

My dad always makes one with black cherries or wild cheries and wallnuts using the unripe nuts in their green shells.

And this is pretty much my question - has anyone tried to make infusions/tinctures with things like:
Rowan - http://en.wikipedia....orbus_aucuparia
Wild rose berries or fruits
Blackberries
Prunes

What is the difference between an infusion and a tincture ?
Is it just the amount of time that the flavouring part is left in the alcohol ?
Can anyone also tell me if there is a difference if I use vodka or rectified spirits from a chemical reaction side?

Any help will be greatly appreciated.
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#88 eje

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Posted 29 September 2007 - 09:19 AM

[...]
What is the difference between an infusion and a tincture ?
Is it just the amount of time that the flavouring part is left in the alcohol ?
Can anyone also tell me if there is a difference if I use vodka or rectified spirits from a chemical reaction side?

Any help will be greatly appreciated.

View Post

Not sure about the difference between an infusion and a tincture. I guess I would say, tinctures are not usually sweetened and are usually single herbs, spices or flavors.

Time depends on the ingredient. Walnuts are often left in alcohol for 2 months or more. Some herbs and flowers might be left only overnight.

As far as I can tell, the biggest difference between rectified spirits and vodka, is simply the amount of dilution you need to perform in the final steps. I don't care for the flavor and burn of most rectified spirits available in the US, so prefer to use a half way decent vodka.

Funny about the cherry and walnut liqueur! I thought I was being really inventive this year by adding some black cherries to one of my batches of green walnut liqueur.

I just strained the solids out last week, and it does smell really good.

How does your Dad make his?
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If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...
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#89 bostonapothecary

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Posted 29 September 2007 - 09:51 PM

[...]
What is the difference between an infusion and a tincture ?
Is it just the amount of time that the flavouring part is left in the alcohol ?
Can anyone also tell me if there is a difference if I use vodka or rectified spirits from a chemical reaction side?

Any help will be greatly appreciated.

View Post

Not sure about the difference between an infusion and a tincture. I guess I would say, tinctures are not usually sweetened and are usually single herbs, spices or flavors.

Time depends on the ingredient. Walnuts are often left in alcohol for 2 months or more. Some herbs and flowers might be left only overnight.

As far as I can tell, the biggest difference between rectified spirits and vodka, is simply the amount of dilution you need to perform in the final steps. I don't care for the flavor and burn of most rectified spirits available in the US, so prefer to use a half way decent vodka.

Funny about the cherry and walnut liqueur! I thought I was being really inventive this year by adding some black cherries to one of my batches of green walnut liqueur.

I just strained the solids out last week, and it does smell really good.

How does your Dad make his?

View Post



high proof spirits can denature delicate fruits and some delicate herbs... medical disinfecting alcohol is cut to a degree so that it does not denature skin cells.
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#90 mamadeaux

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Posted 29 September 2007 - 11:35 PM

I'm making some Limoncello, for sipping and for Limoncello Cakes. This is my first batch. It takes 80 days to make it :rolleyes: -- not an easy recipe for an impatient person like myself. I can't wait for a taste.

Edited by mamadeaux, 29 September 2007 - 11:39 PM.