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bigbear

Homemade Liqueurs

154 posts in this topic

I love the responses. I have only used vodka when making my Lemoncello. I don't use the highest quality (e.g. Level, Absolut, Stolies, etc.) but I do use a pretty decent one.

Great information and knowledge shared here.


Whoever said that man cannot live by bread alone...simply did not know me.

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I haven't tried making any of these at home but I am a big fan of Pallini's range, they do a peach-cello and a raspi-cello. I'd imagine it would be much more difficult at home but surely the presence of such good products means its worth a try. The melon version sounds fantastic! Good Luck! xx

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Everclear should work just fine. As for timframe...well I would guess you'll only be able to tell by tasting some, but give it at least a couple of weeks.


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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It might be a dumb question, but does it matter if I use 151 Everclear in terms of what happens to the fruit? Or would I be better off using 100 proof vodka?

The reason I ask is because I prefer diluting the pure alochol with syrup so I don't have a "vodka" taste, but if the stronger alcohol will do something nasty to the fruit, then I'd rather know that before attempting to make it.

And how long (guesstimate) would the peaches and/or melons need to sit in the alchohol before it could be considered "ready to drink?".

[...]

I've had very good luck with a whole fruit apricot liqueur following jackal10's damson/sloe gin procedure in this topic:

Autumn and Festive Preserves

I'll also refer you to portion of Gunther Anderson's website about liqueur making:

Liqueur-making Principles and Techniques

He recommends macerating stone fruit for 2 weeks to a month, and then aging at least a month before enjoying. Check the General Principles page for more info.

I don't know how possible it is to make melon liqueur simply by steeping the fruit. They are very watery, so it may be difficult to get a concentrated enough melon flavor to cover the taste of the alcohol.

re: 151 vs 100 proof. Chuckle, well, I prefer using vodka so it doesn't have that "grain alcohol" smell! The only real differences are personal preference and the alcohol percentage math you have to do at the end. Some folks say you get better flavor extraction with higher proof liqueurs. Higher proof alcohol is also probably better at killing any stray bacteria on the fruit.


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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For what it's worth, I've been using 190 proof grain alcohol in my limoncello for some time with good effect. I add sugar and water to reduce the proof to about 60. With all that, plus the fact that these liqueurs are served at freezer temperatures, it works just fine. I have very limited experience with commercial limoncello, but friends who have tried it say its better than the store brands (of course they could just be fishing for another bottle).

The one thing I did notice a slight difference in was using Everclear brand vs generic (Mohawk on the first try) grain alcohol. The Everclear did seem to make a somewhat smoother end product.

-Andy

Edit to add: Have you considered other bases? Peaches in brandy or melons in gin sounds good to me.


Edited by thirtyoneknots (log)

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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Oh, and I wouldn't cut up the peaches.

I've tried that in the past with plums. Especially, if you have decently ripe fruit, the flesh turns to pectin thickened mush, and makes the liqueur an enormous pain in the a** to filter.

If you're going to freeze, as jackal10 advises, just poke the skin of each peach a few times with a knife or fork beforehand to allow the alcohol to enter and fruit juice to exit. The cracking thing doesn't really work with thicker skinned fruit like peaches and apricots.


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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If you're going to freeze, as jackal10 advises, just poke the skin of each peach a few times with a knife or fork beforehand to allow the alcohol to enter and fruit juice to exit.  The cracking thing doesn't really work with thicker skinned fruit like peaches and apricots.

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

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

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

Again, I haven't tried this myself, but I am aware that in lots of commercial apricot liqeuers, the apricot pit is what adds some of those lovely almond flavours into the mix, makes things abit more interesting.

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


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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

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.


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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

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.


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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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.

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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?

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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.


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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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.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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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.

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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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?

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".


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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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.

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?

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.


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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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.com/group/Distillers

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

~ Matthew


Matthew B. Rowley

Rowley's Whiskey Forge, a blog of drinks, food, and the making thereof

Author of Moonshine! (ISBN: 1579906486)

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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.

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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 (log)

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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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.

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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