Liqueur Recipes

Drinks, Food, Liqueur No Comments »

This is a list of some of the recipes I’ve tried and some notes to go with them. It will grow over time.

Southern Comfort

A traditional drink from the South. Usig this recipe and also a bit of history.

DIY Southern Comfort

Its a simple and also not sugar heavy – which is a good thing. There is a bit of honey in it whih may or may niot be your thing but make sure to put at least some in. It’s needed.

From wiki – a little bit about the history:

“An inch of vanilla bean, about a quarter of a lemon, half of a cinnamon stick, four cloves, a few cherries, and an orange bit or two. He would let this soak for days. And right when he was ready to finish, he would add his sweetener: he liked to use honey.[9]”

Chocolate Liqueur:

This is a seriously good chocolate drink. It’s like really thick creamy chocolate milk with a big kick.

Easy to make and saves a LOT money compared to shop bought drinks. It’s not exactly low calorie and is pretty much addictive – be warned.

The recipe can be found here:

https://anitalianinmykitchen.com/chocolate-liqueur/

You have been warned 😉

Pineapple Liqueur:

http://www.oneacrevintagehome.com/homemade-pineapple-liqueur/

Pineapple – day 1

Simple to make and takes one month of shaking daily before sugaring and straining. The left over fruit will make for a nice ice cream topping;)

Orange Liqueur:

This one can be found here http://themellors.org/cooking/?p=503:

Orange – day 1

Very simple and even after only 2 weeks, it’s already starting to taste like it should. A winner.

Limoncello

A classic Italian liqueur. Full off lemony goodness with a kick like a mule.

Here: http://themellors.org/cooking/?p=499

Limoncello – day 1

If you follow the (my) instructions then not only will you get some really good limoncello, you will also get a good bit (2l -3l of lemon cordial) as well.

Cranberry

Ideal for Christmas and where I really learned that if the recipe says “big” pot, then use a “big” pot. There is only 600ml of vodka in this one but the fruit makes it difficult to fit.

As this was a Dutch recipe – I’ll write it here:

  • 450g cranberry
  • 500 ml Vodka
  • 2 mandarins (always scrub fruit before you use and use organic where you can)
  • 500g sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 6 cloves

Wash the cranberry’s and then chop them finely. For this I used a blender but you can chop them by hand. Zest the mandarins (difficult so it’s perhaps easier to use a potato peeler than a rasp) and squeeze the juice out.

Cranberry liqueur – day 1.
NOTE the BIG pot.

Put everything in the BIG pot, tighten the lid and then shake. Leave in a dark place for 3 weeks and shake twice daily.

When ready for bottling, remove the cinnamon stick. Use a cheesecloth to strain the liquid into a container. Then squeeze out all the moisture from the remaining fruit – you want to get as much out as you can.

The liqueur is good to drink at this point but as with most things, if you leave it a little longer, it will mature out.

Note to self – maybe the remaining fruit can be used in some way???

Liqueurs

Drinks, Food, Liqueur, Uncategorized No Comments »

A request for a post about making liqueurs…

First off – a disclaimer…

I’m no expert. I’ve made a few and I’ve been very pleased with the results. That said – I’m sure there is a lot of room for improvement and also many other ways to make delicious sweet alcoholic drinks:) So – what I do and say is only part of a large world and you need to make your own choices:)

Second – health and safety…

Not because I want to put a downer on anything – it’s more about making sure you don’t poison or infect yourself…

You are dealing with alcohol, fruit and sugar. You are extracting oils and chemicals from ingredients that aren’t in the regular stream of “home cooking”. Make sure everything is clean. Make sure you sterilize any equipment and jars etc that you use. It’s true that alcohol above a certain %’age will kill (or at least stop bacteria from growing) but there is always a chance.

Now – the downer stuff is over – time for the fun to begin…

What is a Liqueur?

Really it’s alcohol with an infusion of fruit and or other stuff and sugar in the range 15% to 30% alcohol by volume but not always:) There are a number of exceptions to this.

Image result for liqueur glass"

How do you make?

Get some alcohol, get some flavor base, get some sugar, mix in various ratios and leave for a while. Alcohol is a string solvent and so will extract all the oils and taste from the flavor base. The sugar helps make the thing a little more balanced for taste. You don’t even have to leave the thing for years to improve the taste (although this can help with some).

Orange liqueur in the making

How to drink?

Usually cold, either as an aperitif or a digestive. Or whenever you want 😉 Mix with other things for cocktails.

Ok – so what about the alcohol thing – what can I use?

Typically, you use a neutral tasting alcohol as a base. So, vodka is a good start. Use as good a quality as you can afford and always where possible, a minimum of 40% ABV. It maybe that for somethings you can only get 35% (Dutch Jenever is an example). Thats ok – just be aware that if you add water to it – you need to add not so much.

But of course – you can also use whiskey, cognac or whatever as a base. It’s your choice.

Why not add too much water to the mix?

Many liqueurs are good drunk from the freezer. If there is lower than say 30% ABV in there, the liquid will begin to freeze and separate out. You will end up with slush puppie. Maybe not a bad thing but probably not whats intended. So – be careful with adding water.

Another reason is that if you have solid fruits in there – the alcohol needs to be above a certain concentration to prevent nasties growing. Does that mean more is better? Nah – not always. Too much and it will be undrinkable for most. Also, to be fair, quite dangerous as you won’t know just what you are drinking and that can lead to “issues”.

So – it’s legal, right?

Generally, yes. But I’m not a lawyer – so -check your own locations laws. Making liqueurs should be not problem. What generally upsets governments and agencies is making your own pure alcohol (aka moonshining). Many countries won’t allow the use of even personal stills. It maybe legal to sell them but to use them for alcohol; nope.

Image result for small still"

There is a grey area here as many little stills are used to also concentrate oils from herbs (and other things).

What equipment do I need?

  • Big wide mouthed jars with a easily removable air tight lid.
  • Ingredients
  • Pan to make sugar solution or extract juice
  • Strainers
  • Cleaning/Sterilizing stuff

General kitchen stuff in other words. Nothing special. But if it says BIG jars – use big ones. As a rule of thumb – a jar should be one and a half to two times the volume of liquid you but in.

Why? Because when you add fruit and sugar – these take up room as well. And you need a bit of space in the jar so you can shake it up properly.

What do I do?

Start off with using recipes and instructions from books and/or internet. Stick with them before you start messing around. Then, once you have experience, you can start tweaking and creating your own. Just like any other thing. Get a bit of experience first and then expand.

What can I do with the end product?

Well – other than the obvious “drink it”, you can use it as a basis for cocktails, as an ingredient for cooking, a present or any one of a number of other things.

Many online stores have fancy bottles for putting your finished product in. Label it and put a fancy ribbon in it; Bingo. A great personalized birthday present.

But I have other questions?

Send an email or leave a comment below – lets see what we can do:)

Orange liqueur

Drinks, Liqueur No Comments »

We’ve done the limoncello and that’s going nicely.

Vodka was on cheap at the store so we’ve stocked up on a few extra liters for just-in-case. I mean, it’s not as if it will go off. Right?

Oranges are starting to come down in price.

Alcohol and oranges? Hmmm – I wonder what could happen there?

So I went looking. Turns out there are a lot of different recipes for making “Orange liqueur” and some sounded better than others. On the basis that simplicity is often the best option – I decided to go with this one:

  • 1l Jong Jenever (Dutch young gin – any grain based alcohol will do I guess but not vodka) at least 35%.
  • 1 orange
  • 40 coffee beans
  • 40 raw sugar lumps
  • 1.5l preserving jar with WIDE mouth.
I forgot to include the sugar in the picture but it’s needed:)

And what do you do with all that lot?

Scrub the orange under warm water, this removes the wax ans also makes it a little more pliant. Get a sharp knife and make holes in and around the orange and press the coffee beans into each hole (so that’s 40 holes right, probably at this point you may need to think about the size of orange you are using). Hint: make sure you go INTO the orange so you can access the juice.

When you’ve done that, put the orange in a large jar, add the sugar lumps and then cover with the gin.

Shake it a little to dissolve the sugar and thats it.

Leave this for 40 days:)

Put it in a dark place and leave for 40 days. Why 40? Probably because of the 40 beans?

After the 40 days – it’s ready. Filter the liqueur into a nice bottle (maybe give the orange a squeeze or just eat it?) and serve.

Orange wine – pitched

Drinks, Wine No Comments »

5 days ago, I spent the night with a bunch of oranges and lemons. Zesting, peeling, pithing, crushing etc. Today, i spent some more time with them. this is what it looked line:

The must after 5 days. This also included pectinase which helped break down the cells walls and release more juice.

As a reminder – I’m making the wine from this recipe:

I heated them up to just below 100 deg C (don’t want any bugs in there that shouldn’t be. I strained them to get all the bits out. I fed them 4 kg of sugar solution (found out the 1 kg of sugar in 1l of water increases the volume by just over 0.5l) and nearly drowned them with another 5l of liquid.

Straining the original must. It needed a bit of help to make it through the straining bag. This may cause it to go cloudy later on although the pectinase added at the start “should” prevent this.

And then we get to the magic part.

Giving them yeast and letting those little animals eat them and the sugar, pooping out CO2 and alcohol.

This part of the process is called “pitching”, where you pitch in your yeast…

In this case I made a “yeast starter”. So – got a bit of juice from the bucket, added some yeast starter nutrient, a bit of sugar and left it to cool a little (to lukewarm) . Shook it. Then added the yeast. Leave it for a little while till it starts to bubble (around 3 to 6 hours) and then thrown that directly into the orange and sugar mix.

Yeast starter. Sterilized jar used.

Put the lid on tightly. Insert the airlock and leave it. I did take a sample and measured the SG – it was pretty high (possibly too high) – >1120! Assuming the yeast holds out – it’s going to be pretty potent stuff at the end of it.

Shortly after, the air lock starts to bubble and you know them yeasts are doing what they should be.

They will carry on for a week or maybe more. At that point I’ll rack it from the bucket into glass demijohns and leave it to finish. This is what sometimes is called “the secondary”. You get an initial or “first” fermentation – so sort of fast and furious. Then it dies down and proceeds really slowly. This is where it’s a good idea to rack it off the lees and just leave it to do what it does – finish turning all the sugar into alcohol and then clear.

How long will that take? I honestly have no idea. I’m guessing 2 weeks for first and then maybe 2 to 3 months for secondary. After secondary – I may bottle if it’s clear or rack again and leave to clear before bottling.

In any event – we are under way.

When life gives you lemons…

Drinks, Liqueur No Comments »

Make Limoncello (and Lemon Cordial)…

Limoncello is great. Point out. As an aperitif, as dessert, as an anytime drink. Ice cold in a small glass. Wonderful.

But, shop bought is expensive and also not always that palatable. What to do?

Easy – make it yourself.

Doing just that though leaves you with a problem…

Waste!

You need only the lemon zest and not the whole fruit. Dilemma.

Or not really…

Be smart – use the lemon juice for lemon cordial. It’s not the harsh, acid drink you imagine. It’s rather smooth, tasting of lemon and great as a basis for mocktails (I know, I know).

Anyways – below are two recipes that make what they say.

As a side note – get 12 lemons. Scrub them and then zest them. Keep two of the lemons zest separate (perhaps a little more). Also, when you have the boiling water to soften the lemons (cordial), juice them and throw the skins in the boiling water. This makes it extra lemony. This doesn’t make much sense now. It will do when you’ve read the recipes. Honest.

For Limoncello…

(read the whole page – contains very useful information about alcohol strength):

And for the cordial:

https://www.kilnerjar.co.uk/lemon-cordial

Have fun making.

Planning and record making

Drinks, Food, Outside stuff, Technology No Comments »

So – you have a few batches of wine (or indeed, whatever) on the go. You wrote everything down in your book and now you go to your notebook and find out that one of the kids has used it for school. Disaster has struck…

No notes.

It’s not exactly the end of the world but it’s inconvenient at best.

Here’s an online idea for you that may help save some frustration and a few batches of wine.

The internet has many useful tools and services that you can take advantage of for free. Of these – I would like to introduce you to:

OneNote is a Microsoft program and may not be free – sort of depends on your license. EverNote is free for all, although you may be limited in the amount of records you store (but for our purposes – it will do fine).

Trello uses a “board” to store a number of Lists. Each list is made up of cards. A card can have various information with it (due date, photos, text etc).

If we use one board called say “Wine” and then make a list per batch of wine. We call a list after a batch of wine e.g. “strawberry”. We create a card for “Starting” and in the card we put a due date of the day started. I also put in a link to the recipe and some other stuff in there.

Then, when you rack the wine, you create another card called “rack” with a due date the day you rack. Continue with adding a card for each time you do something. A nice way to keep records. But, wait, there is more…

The “Due Date” field can be used to plan. Create a card for say “Bottling” and put a due date in the future – and you get the basis of a planning system as well. Nice. When you’ve done the job on the card – mark it as done (and make sure the date is the date you did it) – so you can have a good indicator of where you are.

How does that look in practice? A bit like this:

wine planning on trello
A Trello Board.

And this is what a card looks like:

A Trello card

Give Trello a go – it’s kinda cool. You can also share your boards with other people. This lets people work together for say maybe if you have a shared room or such and need to see where certain things are. (I don’t want to use the term “project management” but you get the idea).

This is all well and good but it’s not a real notebook – more of a scheduling tool. This is where we bring IFTTT (If This Then That) into play.

We can make it so that when you enter a new card – it adds to your online notebook. By connecting Trello to IFTTT and then into OneNote or EverNote then you can take your note taking to a new level.

First, make sure you have a OneNote available online. EverNote is always available online so it may be a little easier to deal with.

Then go to IFTTT and create an account. There are some good resources there that explain the next step – linking IFTTT to Trello and also to your OneNote/EverNote. When those two services are added – you need a recipe like the following to do the lifting of creating notes from cards:

Example IFTTT recipe.

When this recipe is run it will add a new page to your notebook. For me – this is OneNote and looks something like this:

OneNote in action.

This is just the start of where this can go. Using services like IFTTT, we can link numerous things together to get some useful and handy solutions in place.

Orange Wine

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We’ve done the Pear wine – now lets try something a little more Christmasy (maybe)?

Orange Wine.

Oranges and Lemons
Oranges and Lemons

From this link:
https://www.lowcostliving.co.uk/home-brewing/simple-orange-wine-recipe/

Look there for instructions – there is a bit of preamble before you get to the nuts and bolts about half way down. Anyways – here’s my version. They main difference for what I’ve done (so far) is I added a bit of Pectolaze. This is an enzyme that breaks down pectin.

Why do this?

It turns out the oranges contain some of the highest pectin concentrations in the fruit world. It’s concentrated in the peel and pith. You don’t want those in the wine anyways as they leave a bitter taste so you remove those where you can.

Why don’t we want pectin?

Pectin is really useful if you want to make jam. It helps the jam set. But, if you want to make wine, then it can leave a cloudy presence in the finished product that makes clearing harder. Also, pectin is contained in the cell walls of the fruit and we want the juice out. So we can use pectinaze (it’s an enzyme) to help break down those walls and get the juice out.

What was a problem for me was that I don’t have any fine measuring scales (I’ve fixed this problem and ordered a set). So – adding a fine powder at 3g to 10l is not the easiest thing to do when you can weigh blocks of 10g. Long story short…

I added half a teaspoon. See how it goes.

The process?

Zest the fruit (remember to scrub the fruit first with warm water to remove any wax coating). Peel and remove what pith is possible (taking the pith?). Then cut up and mash the fruit together with the zest in a fermenting bucket. Add 6l of boiling water and mix. Important to have it boiling as this will kill and bugs that may have wandered in.

zest and fruit
zest and fruit
6l water added
6l water added

Once the lot had cooled – I added the pectinaze and now have to leave it for 5 days.

Be back then.

Pear wine – for beginners…

Drinks, Wine No Comments »

So – you’ve got loads of pears or someone wants to dump a load on you (or other fruit for that matter)…

You can only make so much jam and cakes. Freezing, dehydration and canning isn’t an option. Ice cream is great but…

What to do? Maybe…

Make some wine.

But thats like complicated and needs loads of equipment and lots of other things and if you even look at it wrong – it will turn to vinegar and and and…

…loads of excuses follow. Well – just maybe bugger that and give it a go.

There are lots of great resources on the net for making wine and many wonderful sites exactly for the beginner. Here’s one I found which does a way better job than I can on making things easy and straight forwards:

https://www.selfsufficientish.com/main/2009/12/taking-the-fear-out-of-wine-making-part-one-by-mkg/

Anyways – here’s my take on pear wine (for those that can’t wait for the end – sorry – you just gonna have to – making wine requires patience and a willingness to take a little time).

What do you need to make 1 gallon of wine?

  • 2.25 kg or pears
  • 1 kg sugar
  • 1 tsp citric acid (from chemist)
  • yeast and a bit of yeast nutrient (probably need to get these from home brew supplier.

Equipment:

  • Large Pan
  • Large food grade bucket (get a fermenting bin)
  • Fermenting vessel (1 gallon demijohn)
  • airlock for fermenting vessel
  • Big spoon (plastic?)
  • Straining cloth (and holder/frame – maybe from jamming)
  • Optional – hydrometer (measures specific gravity – lets you know how much alcohol your wine will be)
  • sterilizing chemicals (again from home brew supplier)

No need for anything specialist and the few things that are – well – you can always buy a “begin wine making” kit from t’internet.

What do you do then?

Well – you need to extract the juice from the fruit. This can be done many different ways – but in our case – we start by getting the pears, chopping them and then squeezing. I did take out the seeds. I don’t know if you need to or not – but. No need to peel the fruit. As the pears are kinda soft when ripe – you can use your hand to squish them. If you don’t like that – then use a potato stamper – works just as well.

pears
pears
pears in pan
pears in pan

So – the pears are put in the pan and squished. I made the volume up to 9l with just tap water and then boiled the stuff whilst stirring. Here we are both sterilizing the “must” (the fruit we are going to ferment) and extracting the juice (and sugar). For pears – it’s a good idea to not boil hard or longer than 20 minutes. If you do – it won’t affect the taste but it may make the wine difficult to clear (in wine making there are a lot of words like “may” and “could” – it’s a natural process;).

Once you’ve got the stuff boiling and stirred and waited (in my case) 15 minutes simmering – then you need to strain the liquor over the sugar. I put the sugar in a fermenting bin (you can use a bucket but make sure it’s “food grade” – this is important as there are some chemicals in none-food grade that you really don’t want messing with your wine. I also have a strainer that is used for making jam. You could also use a simple sieve or cheese cloth etc – I just find this thing a lot easier to use.

straining pear liquor
straining pear liquor

This all looks pretty gross – but – it smells not too bad.

When all the juice is strained – use the big spoon to make sure all the sugar is dissolved in the liquid. This part is important – you need that sugar – it’s whats going to feed your yeast.Add the Citric acid and nutrient to the liquor and stir again. Add tap water to bring it up to the 9l mark. There is a reason for this (you don’t want to fill the fermenting vessels too much) but that is only apparent AFTER you’ve done this once and made a real mess;) Make sure it’s all dissolved and then leave to cool (with the cover on).

When cool (around 25 deg C) – take the SG of the fluid (if you have a hydrometer) and put the liquid into the demijohn.

SG 1105
SG 1105

Add the yeast (pitch) to the must and fix the airlock to the demijohn. Then leave for a few days until the vigorous initial fermentation has stopped. Once it’s stopped – then you can either fill up to the bottom of the neck with water OR make up a sugar solution of around 200g sugar to 1l water. Why the choice? You can have either a really dry wine or a less dry one.

ready to pitch
ready to pitch

And thats about it really…

There are a few things to remember – and that’s really about hygiene.

Use the sterilizer to make sure anything that comes into contact with the liquid AFTER it’s boiled is sterile. This doesn’t mean operating room sterile and don’t get absolutely paranoid with it – but – it’s important.

Yeast eats sugar. When it does this – it poops carbon dioxide and alcohol. Other bacteria also eat sugar and poop other things. It’s these other bacteria that can spoil your fermentation. Same as for making jam or pickles – things need to be clean. It’s difficult to boil out a demijohn which is why we use chemical cleaners. This is why it’s a good idea to start with a wine making kit. This will give you some exposure to the basics in a guided manner.

But – if you want to go on your own – by all means – do so. Just remember hygiene 😉

So – thats about it – the yeast is pitched and is doing it’s best to eat all that sugar and poop magic.

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