Fruit liqueurs are pretty good, so I decided to sacrifice a few pounds of raspberries for a little taste of summer in winter. I like this recipe because it is a multi-purpose one that can be used with any kind of fruit. I was short on vodka too, so I added a little brandy to make up for the shortage. Hic.
Fruit Liqueur makes 3 quarts
from the Oregonian, FOODday
2 to 2½ pounds fresh whole berries or fruit, extremely ripe but not bruised
zest of one lemon, cut in strips
1½ to 2 cups granulated sugar (see note)
About 6 cups of vodka
In a clean gallon jar, place washed whole berries or fruit (remove stems; do not cut up, peel or remove pits). Using more fruit (2½ pounds versus 2) will produce a more pronounced fruit flavor. Add lemon zest; set aside.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, dissolve sugar in water (about 1 to 1½ cups). Cool; pour over fruit in jar. Add vodka. Add enough water to almost fill jar, about 1 or 2 cups. Place wax paper under lid and close. Store in the light at room temperature, shaking gently every day for at least 1 month, preferably 3 months.
Remove lid and taste for sweetness, if it is not sweet enough, make and add a small amount of cooled sugar syrup.
Replace wax paper and lid; place in a cool, dark place for another 3 months; don’t shake during this time.
Strain through cheesecloth or jellybag into small clean containers. The liqueur-soaked fruit can be saved and served over cake, ice cream or pudding, or used in cakes, etc. The fruit can be stored in jars on a pantry shelf, since the high alcohol content will preserve it.
Note: Try 1½ cups granulated sugar for raspberries, cherries and peaches; 2 cups for blackberries and plums. With these amounts you’ll produce a slightly, but not sickeningly sweet product. For tart fruit you may need additional sugar.