Homemade Blackberry Liqueur

Blackberry Liqueur in the making

Making liqueurs has been a hobby of mine for a long time. The first liqueur I ever made was blackberry liqueur. My friend Dale lived in an apartment building, near a large ravine. The ravine was filled with wild blackberries. Dale asked if we could turn them into a liqueur. He harvested them- and held them in the freezer until we had enough. Once we had plenty, I combined the berries with vodka and let the mixture steep together. After enough time had passed, I strained it, sweetened it and enjoyed it. It is still one of my favorites.

I wasn’t planning on making blackberry liqueur until I got a call from my friend Mari. Her fridge was dying and she had a bunch of stuff from the freezer she didn’t want to go to waste. She asked if I wanted a stash of frozen fruit. I said that I did, so I picked up a rather large bag of assorted, thawing fruit.

Among the bags were two bags of blackberries. I knew what I wanted to do with them. I grabbed a half gallon jar, and filled it with the berries, vodka and lemon zest. Now, it is just a waiting game. The jar will spend the next three months in a dark cabinet. After that, I’ll strain it, filter it and sweeten it. I have already  promised some to Mari.

Sweetening is actually optional. For sipping, sweetened is the way to go. While the recipe lists specific amounts, sweeten to your own taste. For using in cocktails, you might want to leave some unsweetened. The unsweetened blackberry liqueur is known as an eau de vie, or water of life. I like that.

So here is the recipe. If you have some extra berries, you might also want to make liqueur with them.

 

Blackberry Liqueur

 

4-c. fresh or frozen  berries (thawed)

Sliced and scraped peel of one lemon

1 clove, optional

3-c. vodka or 2 c. vodka and 1 c. brandy

1 c. simple syrup- recipe follows

 

Lightly crush berries with a fork, if using fresh. Combine with peels and clove and vodka and steep 3 months. Strain and filter and add sugar syrup. Mature 4-6 weeks.

 

Simple Syrup

Simple syrup is made from 1 cup of sugar and ½ cup of water. Bring to a boil, then cool. You will have 1 cup of syrup. You can sweeten with honey, if you prefer. Watch when you substitute honey for sugar, as it is sweeter and stronger flavored. Add a small amount, let it sit for a day or so- and give it a taste. You can always add more sweetener later.

 

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