Making Fruit Flavored Liqueurs
A unique way to preserve fruit is to soak the fresh fruit in store-bought vodka for 4 to 6 weeks and bottling it in nice bottles. These liqueurs make wonderful gifts for the alcohol drinkers on your list. The process could not be easier and the results are unique and distinctive!
1 or 2 cups of fresh fruit
Store-bought Vodka: the higher grade, the better
Clean, sterilized quart or larger jars with tight fitting lids
Decorative glass bottles with secure caps
Small kitchen funnel
Layers of cheese cloth or paper coffee filters
Select fresh, blemish-free fruit for this project that are perfectly ripe and juicy. The amount of fruit you use will depend on how much flavour you would like to impart into the vodka. I use at least one cup (1/2 pint or 225 ml) of fruit.
Any fruit will work, including:
Apples, cored and sliced
Apricots, halved and pitted
Peaches, pitted and sliced into quarters
Plums, pitted and sliced into quarters
and many others, including combinations of different fruits and spices.
1. Prepare the fruit as suggested above and place 3/4 or so into the clean jars.
2. With the back of a wooden spoon, crush the fresh fruit against the sides and bottom of the jar until the pulp is soft and the juices of the fruit are released.
3. Pour the vodka over the crushed fruit to fill the jar.
4. Add the whole fruits that were reserved. These will look great in the finished, decanted bottles.
5. Add a small section of a vanilla bean, if desired. This flavoring is blends especially well with fresh peaches.
6. Place the filled jars on your countertop within easy reach and shake gently every day or so for at least one month. Keep in mind that the longer the fruit soaks in the vodka, the stronger the fruit flavor.
Once the vodka and fruit have soaked for a month or more, it is time to filter the vodka into the clean decorative bottles. I had some old liqour bottles that I collected over the years, which I used, but, almost any glass bottle will do.
Place the small funnel into the mouth of the bottle and place one or two paper coffee filters or 3 or four layers of cheese cloth into the funnel. Gently pour the liqueur into the funnel a little bit at a time and allow the liqueur to filter through before adding more. It may become necessary to change the filters occassionally to speed the process. Try not to disturb the fruit and fibers in the bottom.
Once the bottles are filled, add a few of the whole berries or signature fruit to the jar and cap tightly. Note: You may have to slice larger fruits in order to get them into the jars. Adding the fruit is optional. If you have used a section of vanilla bean, it can also be transfered into the bottles.
These beautiful liqueurs are great mixers with other fruit juices such as orange juice.
The vodka soaked crushed fruit can be used over crepe suzettes, ice cream, punches or in frozen mixed drinks such as daiquiris and slushies.