Monday, December 3, 2007

Triple Berry Liqueur

Mmmm ... liqueurs.

I absolutely love making liqueurs. I've been doing it for a few years now and not only do I find the process (and results) quite satisfying, but my friends love receiving the finished products as gifts.

This summer, I tried something new and created a recipe for the Triple Berry Liqueur seen here.

I donated the first part of this batch to an opportunity drawing at a recent weekend workshop on Creating Ecstatic Ritual with T. Thorn Coyle. The drawing brought in close to $300 for Witch Way to the Cure, a Pagan walking team that participated in the 2007 San Diego Breast Cancer 3 Day Walk.

Want to give it a try? Here's my recipe:

  • 1/3 lb fresh organic blueberries
  • 1/3 lb fresh organic marionberries
  • 1/3 lb fresh organic raspberries
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 lb granulated sugar
  • 4 cups 100-proof vodka (80-proof is fine, but I like my liqueurs to have a kick!)

Rinse all berries and pick out and discard any ikcy, mushy, or moldy ones. (Duh.) Let them drip dry in a colander while making the sugar water.

Warm 2 cups water with sugar in saucepan over medium heat. Stir continuously until well dissolved and warm.

Pour berries into large bowl and pour sugar-water over them. With a wooden spoon, stir to incorporate and as you do, crush the berries with the back of your spoon. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a week, stirring about once a day.

After one week in the refrigerator, remove all solids by straining through a fine wire-mesh strainer into sterilized aging container(s) (I use half-gallon canning jars). Add vodka and stir. Cap aging container and let age in cool, dark place for one month.

After one month, strain through layers of cheese cloth or paper towel until clear. There will be some sediment. Do not fear the sediment. If it bothers you or you want to give the liqueur as a gift, you can always siphon the clear liqueur after letting the sediment settle to the bottom of the jar.

Place in pretty bottles, add labels, and allow to age an additional 2+ months before drinking. Although, if you're antsy, it's fine to use in cooking prior to this and if you take a sip ... or five ... it won't hurt you. The flavors just blend and mature during the final aging period.

Making liqueurs is much easier than other traditional methods of preserving the harvest, like canning. There's something distinctly magical about taking the fruits of the land, in the height of the season, and "brewing" them in your broom closet for consumption during the dark part of the year. You can amp up the magic factor on this project by decorating your aging containers with symbols, spells, or meaningful words, thereby infusing them with your intentions as they age.

You can also use homemade liqueurs to create kick-ass ritual libations, and let's face it, magic and ritual elements rock the hardest when they've been DIY'd. Phewie on store-bought wines and meads! Or, you can just have a Triple Berry Martini:

Triple Berry Martini

  • 1 oz Vodka
  • 1 oz Raspberry Vodka
  • 1/2 oz Triple Berry Liqueur

Shake with crushed ice in cocktail shaker and strain into martini glass. Garnish with a berry. Enjoy!

If you'd like to explore making liqueurs further, I can recommend to following resources:

  1. The Liqueur Web website has a ton of great info, recipes, and links.
  2. Classic Liqueurs: The Art of Making and Cooking with Liqueurs by Cheryl Long (My Triple Berry Liqueur was inspired by a recipe in this book.)
  3. Cordials from Your Kitchen: Easy, Elegant Liqueurs You Can Make by Pattie Vargas

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