Homemade Liqueurs

 Just finished doing a class in homemade liqueurs. Thanks to Joan for hosting the event. It was so much fun to spend time with such warm people and that was before they started drinking!!!! We had an array of liqueurs to chose for tasting. I tend to do a lot of fruit-based mixes but we also had cinnamon Kahlua. They are super easy to make. Just start with fruit- steep in alcohol then strain, filter and sweeten, if desired.



Liqueur – From a Latin word which means to dissolve. Flavors are dissolved into an alcohol base.


Cordial – Used interchangeably with liqueur, probably referred to fruit based drinks originally


Ratafia – Another word used in place of liqueur. Since toasts were drunk when treaties were “ratified” it is suggested in the book, Brandies and Liqueurs of the World, that this could be the source of this word.


Eau de vie – In French it means water of life. These refer to spirits and liqueurs that have been distilled or flavored with no added sweeteners.


Creme de – Refers to extra sweet liqueurs. By content 40% sugar will result in a “Creme de” designation. Usually doubling the amount of sugar or sugar syrup in a recipe will make it a “Creme de”.

Alcohol– choices include vodka (80 proof is good) which is most often used and can also include brandy, gin, rum, or whiskey.

Sweetening– 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. Some recipes call for plain sugar and others for honey. Watch when you substitute honey for sugar, as it is sweeter and stronger flavored. Better to use orange or clover honey.

Here are a few recipes you might like.



3 cups fresh berries, sliced

3 T. powdered sugar

3 c. vodka

1 c. sugar syrup

Sprinkle powdered sugar over berries and let dissolve. Pour over vodka and let steep 2 weeks. Crush berries and strain then filter. Add sugar syrup and mature 1 week. Makes 5 cups.

Blackberry or Blueberry


4-c. fresh berries

Sliced and scraped peel of one lemon

1 clove

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

1 c. sugar syrup


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

Note: I often leave the blueberry unsweetened and make a Blueberry Eau de Vie.

This is one of the recipes we had today. Great tossed salad with spring mix.

Fruity Vinaigrette


2 oz. raspberry or cranberry vinegar

1 oz. balsamic vinegar

1-T. fruit flavored liqueur

1 T, sugar

Pinch of salt

½ c. olive oil


Combine all but the oil and mix well. Whisk in oil by hand or drizzle slowly into blender while running. Makes 1 cup.


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