Boozed + Infused

Infusing liqueurs at home with inspiring and seasonal ingredients


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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!


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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!


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Prune Brandy v. Prune Bourbon

If we told you we were doing a prune taste test, would it sound like we were trying to “spruce up” the menu at a senior living community?

I had not had prunes since I was a kid. I had seen some prune infusions at bars, and love how most dried fruits turn out in liqueurs, so we thought we would do a taste test… Prune Brandy v. Prune Bourbon

You decide…

Prune Liqueur

3 oz. dried prunes

1 1/2 c. of Brandy or Bourbon

Let infuse for approximately 2 weeks. Delicious!

For the prunes, we used Newman’s Organic. They were very soft and juicy for a dried fruit, and had no added sweeteners or preservatives. We split a 6 oz bag between the 2 spirits, which turned out to be about 10 large prunes per jar.

As for the taste test, both my husband and I prefer the Prune Bourbon. My husband is a bourbon lover. He loves all bourbons, especially on their own, so that is not really a fair judgment. But for myself, I am not a huge bourbon fan. I love a good Manhattan, and there are certain other bourbon cocktails that are spectacular, but it is not typically something that I would have on its own.

Infusing bourbon has really changed my feelings about this spirit. I have to say, I think bourbon makes some of the easiest, and tastiest liqueurs we have made. It has so many flavors and sugars of its own, and they blend so nicely with nearly anything that you would choose to infuse.

The Prune Brandy is also spectacular, so don’t let this rant convince you not to try that as well. I can see why the “prune” industry has been trying to give itself a face-lift over the past few years. I believe the proper term is now “dried plums” but they will always be prunes to me… But I think I’ll start buying them more often now!

Cheers!

Related Posts:
Boozy Spiced Sugar Plums

Boozy Prune Jam

Plum Liqueur


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Oatmeal & Brown Sugar Booze – why oatmeal is not just for breakfast anymore!

How do you like your oatmeal? Do you like it with cream and brown sugar? How about raisins and walnuts? Even if you don’t normally eat or care for oatmeal, I have a feeling you will like this…

I was inspired by an Oat and Honey Vodka recipe from Chow, which lists that it is adapted from Blue Hill at Stone Barns.

I have trouble following directions, so I didn’t follow the recipe. I really love brown sugar in my oatmeal, so we adapted it accordingly. It was hard to keep myself from putting dried cranberries and walnuts in there, but we wanted to be able to try this on its own first.

Oatmeal & Brown Sugar Booze

1 c. rolled oats

1 1/2 c. vodka

2/3 c. brandy

1/4 c. packed light brown sugar

We infused this for about 9 days, then strained and filtered well.

We did not refrigerate as the Chow recipe indicates. With the portions of ingredients we used, it was not necessary.

The oatmeal gives it a creamy flavor, and it is delicious! We have not tried it in cocktails yet, but this recipe from Chow says to add half-and-half for a Quaker Shaker.

Maybe the true inspiration for this is my college reunion (which I am not attending)… our mascot was the Quaker. Here’s a toast to dear old Penn!

Give this one a try. You won’t regret it.


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Dried Currant Brandy

Have you ever had a Kir or Kir Royale? You loved it, didn’t you. A Kir is a drink made with creme de cassis and white wine, a Kir Royale is creme de cassis with champagne. You probably knew that.

Creme de cassis, a liqueur made from black currants, is heavenly.

Since this is not the season for fresh black currents, I happened to find some dried black currents at the market recently, and decided to try infusing them in brandy. As this was made with dried currants, I hesitate to call it a cassis liqueur. It was however, a tasty substitute and extremely easy to make.

Dried Currant Brandy

5.5 oz dried black currants

2 1/2 c. brandy

Combine dried currants and brandy in a jar and infuse for approximately 3 weeks or until it reaches your desired taste. Strain, filter, and enjoy.

I really enjoy this version of the cassis liqueur. It is a little potent, but very flavorful. We have not yet tried it in champagne.

I do, however, have a favorite cassis liqueur that I need to mention. It is made by Clear Creek distillery. If  you are reading this post and live in the Northwest, I hope that you have been to this distillery. If you are planning any trips to Portland, please add this to your list of places to visit. It is truly exceptional.

Clear Creek stands out among the growing number of craft distilleries in Portland. Whether you are looking for Eau de Vie, Grappa, Pear Brandy or fruit liqueur, you will not be disappointed.

You can also find a recipe for Creme de Cassis at Food Perestroika. I have not tried this recipe but it looks excellent.

Enjoy!

Dried Currant Brandy on Punk Domestics


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Mandarin Hibiscus

Well, it was supposed to be a hibiscus sunrise…

We happened to have a whole lot of fresh-squeezed mandarin juice on our hands. (Perhaps that will clue you into one of our upcoming infusions…) In the meantime, the juice was amazing. We knew it needed to be paired with the hibiscus brandy.

Even if the “sunrise” didn’t turn out as I had hoped, it sure was good. I hadn’t factored in the fact that the juice was a lot heavier than the brandy.

Hibiscus Sunrise

2 oz Hibiscus Brandy

3 oz Fresh squeezed Mandarin (or standard orange) juice

Pour over ice, and enjoy!

That will probably be the end of the hibiscus cocktails for now. Hope I didn’t overload you with them. The rest of the hibiscus brandy is going to be saved for some mimosas and champagne cocktails.


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Hibiscus Sidecar

I couldn’t wait any longer to share one of the delicious hibiscus cocktails with you…

Who loves Sidecars? I do! I do! Thanks to a friend for introducing these to me some years ago, I have delighted in them for quite a while. So the addition of hibiscus brandy in this cocktail was only logical. As I mentioned in the last post, citrus goes great with hibiscus…

Hibiscus Sidecar (serves two)

3 oz. Hibiscus Brandy

1 1/2 oz. Triple Sec

1 oz. Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice

garnish of your choice

Combine all liquid in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously… strain into chilled glasses. Garnish of your choice (preferably citrus – we used a mandarin orange slice).

Delicious. Please give this a try…

Cheers!


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Hibiscus Brandy

Want to try something new and different? How about Hibiscus Brandy?

If you have ever had hibiscus tea, you know that Hibiscus flowers are a strong and refreshingly different flavor. Hibiscus tea is supposed to be quite good for your health (blood pressure, cholesterol), although I’m not sure if the alcohol negates that…

Hibiscus Brandy

2 c. brandy

1/3 c. dried hibiscus flowers

simple syrup

Place the dried flowers and brandy in a jar or glass vessel, and place in a dark location. This infuses fairly quickly. As always, I tend to infuse for a long time to see how the flavors change and enhance. I let this infuse for about 2 weeks before straining out the flowers. The color is very deep and vibrant (the photo doesn’t really do it justice).  After removing the flowers, I added about 1/4 c. of a thick simple syrup and let the infusion sit for another 2 weeks.

With only 1/4 of simple syrup, this is very strong. It is probably not something you would want to drink on its own… however, it is winter – citrus season. Hibiscus and citrus go great together. Cocktail recipes for this liqueur will be forthcoming, so go out and get yourself some hibiscus flowers and start infusing!

Can’t find hibiscus flowers? Try the Homebrew Exchange. They sell online, as well as having a storefront in North Portland.

You could also make quite a tasty liqueur with any loose leaf hibiscus tea that you can find at your local store or tea shop.


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Apple Liqueur

If you are interested in trying a simple liqueur and don’t know where to start, apples are a great ingredient. The photo above may appear to be tart green apples, but these are actually a sweet green apple, picked from my parents’ farm.

Ingredients:

Apples, sliced and cored

Brandy

Vodka

Place apple slices in a canning jar or glass vessel with a lid. Use equal parts brandy and vodka, using enough to cover your apples.

Infuse until the liquid reaches your desired taste. I let this infuse for about 4 weeks. The combination of sweet apples and brandy gave a great apple flavor, with no need for any sugars or additional sweeteners.  After infusing, strain and filter the liqueur. Bottle and enjoy!

Apples can really be used with any spirit. Looking to use up a spiced rum? We were… see below.

Related Posts:

Apple Pie Bourbon

Caramel Apple Liqueur

Apple Liqueur on Punk Domestics


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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!