Boozed + Infused

Infusing liqueurs at home with inspiring and seasonal ingredients


9 Comments

Boozy Spiced Sugar Plums

This time of year is very busy for food preservationists. It can be very easy to get overwhelmed with tomato projects. But this is very important. Put the tomatoes down and get yourself some plums. You know, those lovely Italian Prune-plums. The same variety we used to make Plum Liqueur.

Boozy Plums in Syrup

I have tried a lot of new canning recipes this year… but I have a favorite that I am about to share with you. And I promise you will love it!

Armed with a plethora of Italian prune-plums, I made a batch of plum sauce and then decided I wanted to make some stewed plums with a sugary-boozy sauce. We typically make boozy-sugary preserved cherries, but I didn’t make any this year so I thought this would be a good stand in for holiday gift giving. We opened up a jar last night, and it was pure heaven! I just finished mopping up the last of the sauce with a piece of angelfood cake. That is a combination that you must try.

Italian Prune Plums

Boozy Spiced Sugar Plums (makes 8 pints) adapted from Tall Clover Farm

4 to 4 1/2 lbs plums (we used the Italian prune plums, but you could probably use any variety)

1 lb. dark brown sugar

4 c. water

2 oranges

1 1/2 – 2 c. brandy (or other booze of your choice) – optional

4 cinnamon sticks, broken in half

4-8 pieces of star anise – optional

8 whole cloves

1 1/2″ piece of ginger, cut into 8 slices

Prepare a hot water bath canner, jars, lids, etc. Sterilize the jars.

Halve the plums and remove the pits.

With a vegetable peeler, remove the zest from the oranges in long strips, being careful not to remove the white pith. Juice the oranges and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine the water, brown sugar, and orange juice. Bring to a boil and remove from heat.

In hot sterilized jars, place the following in each jar:

1/2 cinnamon stick

1 whole clove

1 slice of ginger

1 star anise (optional)

1-2 long strips of orange zest

Pack the plums into the jars, cut-side down. Pack the fruit really well, leaving 1 inch of headspace.*

Pour 1 1/2 to 2 ounces of brandy into each jar (if using)

Pour sugar syrup into each jar, leaving 1 inch of headspace. Use a chopstick to remove any air bubbles and add more syrup if needed.

Wipe the rims of the jars, and top with jar lid and jar ring. Bring to finger-tip tightness.

Place pints in a water-bath canner and bring to a boil. After it comes to a full, rolling boil, process for 20 minutes. Turn off heat and remove the lid. Leave jars in canner for another 5 minutes. Remove from canner.

*The headspace is very important, be sure to leave a full inch.

Boozy Plums in Jars

When I was making the syrup, I was afraid it would be overly sweet. But I assure you, the finished product will be perfect. It tastes delightfully of plums, while having hints of orange and a gentle spice of cinnamon, clove and ginger. (I have not tried the ones with star anise yet…)

We made a few jars with the star anise, and a few without. We even made some jars without the brandy for those who are alcohol-free.

If you would like to try a different spirit in this, I think bourbon or rum would be very nice.

Please try making these. You will thank me later…

Related Posts:

Plum Liqueur

Prune Brandy v. Prune Bourbon

Boozy Prune Jam

Boozy Spiced Sugar Plums on Punk Domestics


2 Comments

Local Distillery: Stone Barn Brandyworks

Editor’s Note: This guest post comes to us from a favorite local blogger, Evelyn Shoop. Evelyn is a freelance writer, and can be found at Momsicle. She is also quickly becoming a booze-infusing genius.
Thank you Evelyn for writing this great post and getting the word out about one of Portland’s great craft distilleries.
The best night out is sometimes marked by what you don’t make it to. Recently, we went with friends to Portland’s craft brandy distiller, Stone Barn Brandyworks. We were supposed to go to another distillery afterwards, but we fell in love and just stayed at Stone Barn. (You know those guests who just won’t leave? That was us.)
photo by Elisabeth Kang

photo by Elisabeth Kang

Stone Barn was started as a passionate hobby by Portland couple Erika and Sebastian, who will admit that their youngest child was a bit of a distillery-orphan at the end of high school as they spent more and more time distilling and trying out new recipes.
When we arrived, Sebastian was distilling a pear cider, and we got to stick our heads in the giant distiller to take in the luxurious aroma as cider poured in. This was going to be turned in to a type of French, fortified liqueur (like a port, but with pears).
The advantage of visiting a small, local distillery is that the enthusiasm is almost as potent as the fruity, alcohol-laced air. And sitting amongst distillery equipment makes you think you might be in a Medieval alchemist’s lab, which isn’t the case at a more contrived tasting room.
Stone Barn has over a dozen types of brandy, whisky, and infused liqueurs to try–thanks to Sebastian’s passion for mixing different grains, fruit, and barrel-aging processes. Our favorites were the apricot, coffee, and green walnut liqueurs. The apricot, in particular, tastes like handfuls of apricots were smashed into a bottle and then drizzled with honey.
But their whiskies, and–of course–brandies, are well-worth tasting.
The real star of our night, however, was the whisky sour that Sebastian made with Stone Barn’s whiskey and apricot liqueur.
Stone Barn Brandyworks liqueurs and brandies are sold in many local liquor stores (and occasionally at farmers markets), so if you are looking for a great gift, ask about it. But definitely stop by for a tasting. Stone Barn is open for tastings on Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays; and other times, such as Friday evenings, by request.
photo by Evelyn Shoop

photo by Evelyn Shoop

Related Posts:


7 Comments

Favorite Raspberry Booze

Hi there friends. Sorry I have been so absent… Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?

I can’t believe it is summer already! The time is flying by. This is my favorite time of year for many reasons. Among the top reasons are all of the fresh berries. So imagine my delight to receive a message from my grandmother asking if I would like to pick raspberries with her… of course I would! And I’m proud to say I made it home with a flat of them. Not bad for the first picking of the year.

raspberries

Last year I put together a line up of raspberry infusions. So rather than duplicate it, I will link you back to it, and share a few more tips and recommendations.

Raspberry Infusions: a little splash of heaven

If you are a fan of raspberry liqueur, I recommend the Chocolate-Raspberry Liqueur. I made this for the first time last year, and it was so good we made several batches of it. This was one of my favorite new recipes last year.

For those of you who enjoy caipirinhas, I would like to recommend infusing some cachaça with raspberries. The infused cachaça is highly coveted around here. Follow the recipe for Simple Raspberry Liqueur.

I hope you are all enjoying the summer!

Cheers~


34 Comments

Pear & Cranberry Liqueur

20121125-094957.jpg

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! My husband and I were responsible for dessert this year, and one of my contributions was a pear, apple and cranberry crisp. I love those flavors and how they come together. It made me realize that I need to share a similar flavor that I have been infusing for the holidays. If you start now, this will be enjoyed before the holidays are over.

20121125-095239.jpg

Pear & Cranberry Liqueur

1 3/4 c. Sliced Pears (we used Bartlett, but really any would work well)
1/4 c. Dried cranberries
1/2 TB chopped, peeled ginger
1 whole clove
Small piece of a cinnamon stick (less than 1 gram)
3/4 c. Brandy
1 1/2 c. Vodka

Combine all ingredients into a quart jar, and allow to infuse for about 3 weeks or until it reaches your desired taste. (I think it will continue to add a bit more flavor, so I have not strained ours yet.)  Strain and filter through a jelly bag or cheesecloth, and then coffee filters.

The pear and cranberry flavors come out well in this liqueur. The combination of brandy and sweetened dried cranberries make this sweet enough to drink without being too sweet. I wanted a hint of spices, but did not want them to overwhelm the fruits, and this is achieved here. If you like lots of spice, you could add a bit more. Keep in mind that a bit of clove and cinnamon go a long way in infusions.

20121125-095129.jpg

Cheers!

Related Posts:

Cranberry-Orange Cordial

Holiday Fun Time ! – Holiday Infusions and Holiday Inspired Liqueurs


28 Comments

Almond Liqueur

Ah, summer! We are finally enjoying the warm weather in the Northwest. With all the gorgeous fresh, local fruits available it is tempting to infuse everything in sight! So you may be wondering why I’m posting an almond liqueur recipe that can be done any time of year.

I started this infusion way back in March. I wasn’t crazy about it at first, so I left the infusion in the back of my coat closet for many months.

I finally strained this about two weeks ago. All it was missing was a bit of simple syrup. Once that was added, this liqueur instantly turned into something that is amazing and delicious.

Almond Liqueur

1 c. Raw Almonds, roughly chopped

1 c. Brandy

1 c. Vodka

1/2 Vanilla Bean, split

1 1/2 – 2 TB Simple Syrup

Place the almonds, brandy, vodka, and vanilla bean in a quart jar or bottle. Close the jar, and allow to infuse for approximately four weeks. (Probably not necessary to let it sit four months like I did!) Strain, then filter through a jelly bag or cheesecloth, and finally coffee filters. Add simple syrup to taste (approximately 1 1/2 to 2 Tablespoons).

The coffee filters are really important with this straining process. The liquid was very cloudy until it passed through the coffee filters, and then at once became a beautifully clear, golden color.

This liqueur is delicious and may become a regular infusion, and a favorite.

Cheers!

Almond Liqueur on Punk Domestics


25 Comments

Blackberry Infusions… Marionberry goodness

All of these infusions can be made with almost any variety of blackberry. Here in Oregon, we have a local cultivar of blackberry called the Marionberry.  This berry is slender and a bit tart, but a very tasty variety of blackberry.

I must be a bit greedy… because my recent trip to my parents’ farm to pick Marionberries yielded ten pounds of these beauties. (I also managed to come home with a couple pints of wild black raspberries, a favorite from my childhood.)

While most of the berries made their way into a large batch of jam, and a few ended up in a batch of Maple-Bourbon Blackberries, the rest were turned into several prized infusions.

Blackberry (Marionberry) Bourbon

2 1/2 c. Blackberries

2 1/4 c. Bourbon

Combine ingredients in a large jar, seal well and shake. Store in a cool, dark place for several months or until it reaches your desired taste, shaking contents every few days. Add sugar/honey if desired. Strain and filter with strainer, cheesecloth, and coffee filters.

Blackberry (Marionberry) Mojito Infusion

2 c. Blackberries

2 c. Rum

1/4 c. Packed mint leaves (we used a combination of spearmint and chocolate mint)

Zest of 1 lime

2 TB Sugar (or more to taste)

Combine all ingredients in a large jar and follow directions above for Blackberry Bourbon.

Blackberry-Lemon Liqueur

2 c. Blackberries

Zest of 1 lemon

1 1/4 c. Brandy

3/4 c. Vodka

2 TB Sugar (or more to taste)

Combine all ingredients in a large jar and follow directions above for Blackberry Bourbon.

While you may not have Marionberries in your area, try any of these liqueurs/infusions with your local variety of blackberry. As each variety has a different “sweetness” to it, you may want to alter the sugar content to suit your variety.

Cheers!

Related Post:

Bourbonberry Cocktail


21 Comments

Hibiscus Lemonade

Who needs a Monday cocktail? It is (finally) a gorgeous, sunny summer day here in the Pacific Northwest. And a cool, refreshing drink sounded just perfect.

We’re bringing back a few infusions that we made a while back, but they are perfect for this summer beverage.

Hibiscus Lemonade (serves 2)

2 oz Fresh squeezed lemon juice

2 oz Hibiscus Brandy

2 oz Lemongrass Vodka

1 oz simple syrup (or to taste)

6 oz club soda

Mix the first 4 ingredients in a shaker, and stir well to combine. Divide among two tall glasses filled with ice, add club soda, stir and enjoy!

Cheers!

 


28 Comments

Cocoa Nib Brandy, and the battle of the booze

Remember a few months ago when we made a Chocolate Bourbon? Well, it was fabulous! But some people tell me that they don’t like bourbon. And since one of them is my mother, and she happens to be a chocolate lover, I decided to test out a Chocolate Brandy.

The recipe we made was nearly identical to the Chocolate Bourbon.

Chocolate Brandy

2 c. Brandy

1/2 c. Cocoa Nibs

2-inch piece of vanilla bean, split

(if desired, add simple syrup)

Infuse for 4-5 weeks. Strain through cheesecloth or jelly bag, and coffee filters.  We did not add any simple syrup. I think it would be delicious with it, but we wanted to be able to use this in cocktails, and thought it would be more versatile this way.

If you have trouble locating Cocoa Nibs, please reference the post on Chocolate Bourbon.

Bourbon v. Brandy… what’s your pick?

I have written before that I have a much improved appreciation for bourbon now that I infuse with it. There had long been a few bourbon cocktails that I really enjoyed, but it was never at the top of my list. But when infusing, bourbon is often my favorite spirit to use. It brings so much flavor and nuance to the end result.

We did a Prune liqueur show down a few months ago where we taste tested Prune Brandy v. Prune Bourbon, and although they were both delicious, the bourbon was the clear winner.

In the case of Chocolate Brandy v. Chocolate Bourbon… I declare the winner to be… Brandy!

I’m sorry bourbon lovers. Both of these are really amazing, and I would encourage ALL of you to start infusing with Cocoa Nibs. As much as I really enjoyed the Chocolate Bourbon, the Chocolate flavor shines through better in the brandy.

But, that is just my humble opinion… have any of you infused with Cocoa Nibs? How about a Chocolate Vodka? I think it would be delicious!

Cheers!


17 Comments

Boozy Prune Jam

Happy Mothers Day!

Our plans changed a bit this year, and we had to come up with a portable breakfast. What we came up with turned out to be a winner.

Remember the prune liqueur taste test from a few weeks ago? Well we still had the prunes soaking in the booze. We finally strained them and decided to make something useful.

Boozy Prune Jam

1 generous cup booze soaked prunes (half of our prunes were soaked in bourbon, half in brandy)

3/4 cup orange juice

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 c. dark brown sugar

pinch of salt

- Make sure the prunes are very soft, and have soaked in the alcohol for a long time. (ours had soaked for a month, so they were very soft and spreadable inside)

- Quarter the prunes, then give them a rough chop.

- Place all ingredients in a small saucepan, and bring to a simmer on medium/low, stirring often and breaking up the prunes.

- Reduce heat to low, and continue to simmer until this reaches the consistency of a thick sauce or loose jam. (It will thicken up a bit upon cooling.) This will probably take about 5-10 minutes.

- Remove from heat and allow to cool.

- Store in refrigerator. Will keep for a few weeks.

We made some mini cream scones to spread this on, and it was perfect! In fact, this spread was so tasty, I could eat it by the spoonful. It was such a hit, I’m tempted to get a big bag of dried prunes to soak in booze for the sole purpose of making this jam and canning it (I’m a canning addict).

If you don’t have booze soaked prunes, you could probably start with dried prunes and stew them on low in a bit of water and brandy or bourbon until they get really soft. Then chop them and proceed with the recipe above.

After the success of this spread, I think we are going to start using a lot more of our booze-soaked ingredients.

Have a great Mother’s Day!


13 Comments

Sunset Cocktail

I spent some time this weekend working on the landscape around our garden bed. This included laying sand, pebbles, cut stone, and ground cover. After the physical labor was done, it was time for a refreshing cocktail… and seeing as it was sunset, the Sunset Cocktail magically appeared on our patio.

Sunset Cocktail

3 oz Orange Juice

2 oz Pineapple Rum

1 oz Hibiscus Brandy

Add ice to glass, pour ingredients in order listed above. Enjoy!

As an alternative, we had Hibiscus mimosas a few weeks ago that were a great morning version of this cocktail (not that this Sunset can’t be enjoyed at Sunrise… it does have orange juice, after all!)

For the Hibiscus mimosas, try 2 oz OJ, 2 oz champagne, and 1/2 oz Hibiscus Brandy.

Cheers!