Boozed + Infused

Infusing liqueurs at home with inspiring and seasonal ingredients


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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


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Pear & Cranberry Liqueur

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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.

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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.

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Cheers!

Related Posts:

Cranberry-Orange Cordial

Holiday Fun Time ! – Holiday Infusions and Holiday Inspired Liqueurs


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Blueberry Gin

Today I hosted a small get together for a few Portland area bloggers. It was a bit of a leap of faith for all of us as we had never met, and they came over to my home. Luckily, we are all still alive to tell the tale. And fortunately I believe a good time was had by all. A few fun cocktails were flowing, and eventually we got out a stack of spoons for everyone to start taste-testing (I think they may have tasted a few dozen…)

So, a big thank you to Evelyn from Momsicle, Poppy from Funny or Snot, and Krista from Mostly Mommyhood.

Eventually, I will post about our cocktails (and they might too…) so stay tuned. In the meantime, I wanted to share the infusion that was the base of our featured cocktail from today’s gathering.

Blueberry Gin

2 c. Gin

2 c. frozen blueberries

1/4 c. sugar

zest of 1 lemon

2 whole cloves

1/2 inch piece of a cinnamon stick

Place the frozen blueberries in a small saucepan. Crush them lightly (I used a pastry cutter). Lightly cook them on low for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. This amounted to about 1 cup of a gelatinous blueberry goop.

After the blueberries are cool, place all ingredients in a quart jar (or larger). Shake and allow to infuse for at least 4 weeks, stirring or shaking occasionally.When it has reached your desired taste, Strain and Filter through a colander, cheesecloth, jelly bag, and coffee filter.

I got some of the inspiration for this liqueur from Post Prohibition. He recommends using frozen berries because of the organic breakdown of frozen fruit (or something like that… I was willing to give it a try) and also lightly cooking the berries.

The flavor came out great. I really love blueberry pie, so the intent was to include a few spices that you might find in a blueberry pie.

It is delicious! I have not yet tried making a blueberry liqueur with fresh berries, but have had a few blueberry infusions that tasted quite weak. I wanted to make sure we didn’t fall into that trap. The result was great.

Cheers!

Related Posts:

The Blueberry Pieball: Our new favorite highball

Blueberry-Orange Liqueur


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Mandarin Spice

Having recently filtered the Mandarin Gin, we were ready to try it in some cocktails!

Mandarin Spice

2 oz Mandarin Gin

1/2 TB Vermouth

1/2 TB Winter Spice Liqueur

Lemon peel garnish

Mix or shake liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into chilled glasses, add lemon peel, and sip away.

If you don’t have Mandarin Gin, you could substitute another orangecello or orange liqueur that isn’t overly sweet. And the Winter Spice could probably be subbed with Angostura Bitters with a pleasant result.

Cheers!


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Walnut Liqueur

Typical walnut liqueur, Nocino, is made with green walnuts. Unfortunately I didn’t have access to green walnuts. It is winter, after all. So I improvised and made a walnut liqueur with standard walnuts.

1 c. chopped walnuts

1 c. brandy

1 c. vodka

1/4 vanilla bean, split

6 whole cloves (or less – these can overpower)

2 tablespoons thick simple syrup (or to taste)

Infuse all of the ingredients (except the simple syrup) for at least 2 weeks, or longer if you wish. We let this infuse for about a month. Strain and filter the liquid well, and add the simple syrup. It was surprising how little sweetener this needed.

It is delicious on its own… and will likely be quite tasty in cocktails… any suggestions?

Enjoy!


29 Comments

Winter Spice Liqueur

Every December when I was a kid, my mom would make something that we called “Christmas Fragrance”. This was a combination of water, black tea, orange peel, cinnamon stick, cloves, and I think there may have even been some Tang in there. (Does anyone even remember that stuff?) She would combine all the ingredients in a saucepan, and just let it simmer on the stove for hours, adding water as needed. It would infuse the house with such a great aroma. I will occasionally mix up a batch at the holidays and fill the house with warmth and memories.

I wanted to capture that feeling in a liqueur, and here is my attempt… Tang NOT included.

Winter Spice Liqueur

Ingredients:

Orange Zest (from one orange)

Cinnamon Stick (1)

Black Tea (1 TB)

Whole Cloves (1 tsp)

Brandy (2 c.)

Sugar (1/4 c.)

I infused all of the above for about 3 weeks. The result is very flavorful, potent and tasty. I think it will be good on its own (in small quantities) as a digestif. We haven’t tried it in any cocktails yet, but it would probably be good in some warm spiced cider.