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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Blueberry-Orange Liqueur for Party Cocktails!

Going to a fun summer party or cookout? Bring some infused booze!

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When we were invited to a family barbeque, I knew the best thing to bring would be a fun and easy infusion. I had a few weeks, so I knew there would be time to allow the flavors to infuse well. What did we make? Well, because we had blueberries and oranges in the house, I decided to be lazy and just go with whatever was handy. But really, you can come up with any combination you want. While we already had an infusion recipe for Blueberry Gin, we wanted to test out a little easier version. I think you will find this one to be really simple! (No cooking of the berries like the previous version.)

For a summer barbeque, we also wanted to be able to make easy, refreshing cocktails, so we chose an infusion that could easily be made into a simple highball.

Blueberry-Orange Liqueur

3 c. Frozen Blueberries (smashed)*

Zest of 1 Orange

750 mL Clear Liquor – 80 proof (we used Gin, but you could use vodka, rum, cachaça)

1/3 c. sugar

Combine all ingredients into a large glass jar or vessel. Shake well to combine. Infuse for 2-3 weeks or longer, depending on when your party is. Strain and filter, and return to the bottle (or something larger). Now you are ready to party!

*Note: we used frozen berries, as I did in our previous Blueberry Gin, but you could try fresh as well.

For the party, we thought it would be easiest to make Gin & Tonics. And who wouldn’t love a Blueberry-Orange G&T? All you need are a few bottles of tonic, a few lemons (we thought the lemon would go better with the blueberry-orange flavor than lime) and your home-infused booze!

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Blueberry-Orange Gin & Tonic

2 oz. Blueberry-Orange Liqueur

4 oz. Tonic

Lemon Wedge

Ice

Fill glass with ice. Add the blueberry-orange liqueur and tonic. Stir well, squeeze the lemon wedge and add to the glass. Alternatively, you could mix up a big batch in a pitcher and let everyone help themselves. (This did not last long at our gathering, so you could make a double or triple batch.)

Now go enjoy your party!

What kind of fun infusions will you bring to summer barbeques and cookouts this year? (Yes, sangria counts…)

Cheers!

Related Posts

Blueberry Gin

The Blueberry Pieball – our new favorite highball

Blueberry Orange Liqueur on Punk Domestics


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Halloween Infusion part 2: Chocolate-Orange Liqueur

What is your favorite candy? And have you ever made it into a cocktail?

A few days ago I posted a recipe for Caramel Apple Liqueur, which I made for a get-together with a theme of Halloween candy infusions and cocktails. This was all the brainchild of Evelyn over at Momsicle, who wrote a great post about our “drink up”, complete with a group photo!

I racked my brain for candy infusion ideas, and while it may not exactly be a popular Halloween candy, I have always loved the flavor of orange and chocolate. As a kid, I would get chocolate-orange truffles at the candy store and always loved those chocolate orange sticks (the orange jelly candies that were covered in chocolate). So it was settled, I would make Chocolate-Orange liqueur.

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Chocolate-Orange Liqueur

Zest of 3 large Oranges

1/4 c. Cacao Nibs

1/4 c. sugar

2 c. vodka

Place all above ingredients in a glass jar, and close tight. Shake well and allow to infuse for abut 4 weeks. Strain through a filter, then cheesecloth, jelly bag, and coffee filters. This infusion clogged the coffee filters frequently, so be prepared to change the filter often.

This liqueur is delicious! It lived up to my idea of what I wanted it to taste like. And now for the cocktail…

Chocolate-Orange Martini

2oz. Chocolate-Orange Liqueur

2oz. Creme de Cacao (light)

Orange twist

Combine in a cocktail shaker with ice, and serve in a chilled martini glass with an orange twist. We also enjoyed them with a dark chocolate that was spiked with orange zest and orange oil. Delish!

You will also note that we served these in our “fun size” glasses so that we could taste each of the drink varieties at our gathering. They disappeared fast!

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Cheers!


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Raspberry Infusions: a little splash of heaven

The first liqueur I ever made was Raspberry. I guess I should say the first four liqueurs I made were all Raspberry!

A few years ago, I went to my parents’ farm to pick some raspberries for jam. I came home with a LOT of berries. I made a few batches of jam, and it seemed like I had not even made a dent in the volume of raspberries. So I started going through my liquor cabinet, selecting anything that seemed like it would taste good with the berries.

I ended up with Raspberry Vodka, Raspberry Brandy, Raspberry Cachaça and Raspberry-Mint Gin. I left all of the infusions in the back of our coat closet for three months. And by the time we filtered them, they were heavenly. (Follow recipe for Simple Raspberry Liqueur below) Each year, the volume of Raspberry Liqueur in my pantry seems to grow.

As I started to infuse a wider variety of ingredients, the Raspberry liqueurs have remained some of my favorites.

I spent a good part of the day yesterday picking raspberries with my mother. (And I’ve got the scratches all over my arms to prove it!)

I ended up with about four pounds of amazing, sweet, delicious raspberries. If you have never infused raspberries before, you are really missing out. These wonderful liqueurs really are a little splash of heaven.

Simple Raspberry Liqueur

750 ml bottle of 80 proof booze (vodka, gin, rum, brandy, or cachaça)

3 1/2 c. raspberries

1/4 to 1/2 c. sugar (or more depending on your preference)

Combine all ingredients in a large glass jar. Shake or stir every few days, allowing to infuse for up to 3 months, or until it reaches your desired taste. Add more sugar if desired. Strain and filter well. The straining process can take a while with raspberries, but the jelly bag (or lots of cheesecloth) and coffee filters will produce a clear result.

Raspberry-Mint Gin (adapted from Get Fresh)

750 ml bottle of Gin

1 1/3 lb Raspberries

1/2 c. tightly packed mint leaves

1/2 c. sugar

Follow directions above, same as Simple Raspberry Liqueur.

This is a favorite of ours, and tastes amazing in a gin and tonic.

This year I decided to try out some new variations and flavors. I don’t quite know how they will turn out yet… I guess we’ll have to wait a while before we know. I hope these inspire you to get creative with your raspberry infusions as well.

Raspberry-Lemon Vodka

2 c. Raspberries

Zest of 2 lemons

2 c. Vodka

1/4 c. Sugar

Follow directions above, same as Simple Raspberry Liqueur.

ROB Rum (Raspberry-Orange-Blueberry)

1 c. Frozen Blueberries (cut in half or roughly chopped)

1 1/4 c. Raspberries

Zest of one orange

2 c. Rum

2 TB Sugar

Follow directions above, same as Simple Raspberry Liqueur.

After these have infused for a while, we may alter them with more sugar or simple syrup. We also may add more zest if necessary.

And finally, one last treat…

Chocolate-Raspberry Liqueur

1 1/2 c. Raspberries

1/4 c. cocoa nibs

1/4 c. sugar

2 c. vodka

Follow directions above, same as Simple Raspberry Liqueur.

We will let you know how these new flavors turn out… but it may be a while before they are ready. We will try tasting them before the three months are up to see if they infuse quicker than we think. But I think they will need at least a month.

Do you have any raspberry infusion flavor ideas? What are your favorites?

Cheers!

Related Posts

Raspberry Caipirinha

Raspberry Bliss

Update 7/12/12 Happy National Can It Forward Day! Visit great canning ideas at The Domestically Impaired Guide to Retro Kitchen Arts.


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A Tale of Two Rhubarbs… and some gin

I have a jealousy problem… I hate to admit it, but I’m often jealous of other people’s produce. Yes, you read that correctly. Produce.

So in the spring, when everyone was singing the praises of their beautiful pink rhubarb cocktails, rhubarb syrup, rhubarb jam… and oh yes, rhubarb liqueur… I sat around and sulked. Where was MY rhubarb? Still growing…

But wait, I had some rhubarb in the freezer from last year. But that posed another problem. It was rhubarb alright, but not the pretty pink stuff. It was the green with a hint of red stuff… not exactly the “glamorous” variety.

So let’s get this straight, I’m now jealous of the *color* of the rhubarb. Oh brother, right?

Well, I finally got over it and pulled the green rhubarb out of the freezer and started an infusion. And because of my insecurities about the color and variety, I spiced it up with some orange zest, orange liqueur, and brown sugar.

A few days later, I ventured up to my parents farm (my favorite source for organic produce). To my surprise, the beautiful red rhubarb was flourishing. So I came home with a bunch of it and started another infusion.

They are both delicious. I think so far most people prefer the Rhubarb-Orange, but they are both tasty, and will be perfect drinking alone and in cocktails.

Variety 1: Rhubarb-Orange Gin

2 c. chopped Rhubarb (I used frozen, but fresh would be fine)

2 TB Orange Liqueur (triple sec, Cointreau, etc.)

Zest of One Orange

2 c. Gin

1/4 c. Packed Dark Brown Sugar

In a small saucepan, combine rhubarb and Orange Liqueur. Heat until it starts to simmer. Allow to simmer on low for about 2 minutes.

Set rhubarb aside and allow to cool. Once this has cooled, add all ingredients to a quart jar (or larger). Close the jar, shake, and place in a dark, cool location for about 4-5 weeks.

Strain with a mesh strainer, press through cheesecloth, then a jelly bag and finally coffee filters. Perfect!

Variety 2: Rhubarb Gin

2 1/2 c. chopped fresh rhubarb

2 TB Sugar

2 1/2 c. Gin

3 TB Simple syrup (thick 2-1 sugar to water ratio) or more/less to taste

Toss rhubarb and sugar in a bowl and allow to macerate for at least an hour. (I followed the advice of Country Girl Brooklyn on this step) This brings out a lot of the beautiful pink juices from the rhubarb.

Place the macerated rhubarb and juices in a canning jar with the gin and allow to infuse for about a month.

Strain and filter with a mesh strainer, jelly bag if desired, and coffee filters. Once it is filtered, add simple syrup to your desired taste.

While these were infusing, the Rhubarb-Orange definitely looked pretty undesirable. The red rhubarb almost immediately became such a beautiful pink. But now that they are filtered, I realize that I should not have judged a rhubarb by its color. I was discriminating. I’m sorry rhubarb. Please forgive me.

If you haven’t already made a rhubarb infusion this year, you should try this! I understand that some areas may not have fresh rhubarb any longer. But in my area we can usually keep harvesting through August. If it’s too late, then please try this next year. They are both very tangy and tasty.

They actually both look quite beautiful now too, don’t they?

Cheers!


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Sweet & Sour… the drink

I’ve never been a big fan of “sweet and sour” food dishes. But give me a sweet and sour cocktail and I’m in heaven.

Last week we enjoyed a delicious dinner at one of our favorite Portland restaurants, Pok Pok. After sipping Tamarind Whiskey Sours, we returned home, anxious to try another tamarind cocktail with our Tamarind-Orange Gin.

Sweet & Sour

2 oz Tamarind-Orange Gin

2 oz Bourbon

1 TB Fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/2 tsp chocolate bourbon (or substitute a dash of chocolate bitters)

2 dashes cranberry bitters (optional)

Stir with ice, strain over more ice, and garnish with lemon slice or twist.

This made 2 small cocktails. You may want to double this depending on how thirsty you are…

Because we have so many infusions building up in our liquor cabinet (also known as the coat closet) we were able to throw a lot of additional flavors in there. Some of the last ingredients could be substituted with a different variety of bitters, and would turn out great.

Cheers!


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Tamarind-Orange Gin

I have been enjoying tamarind flavors in a number of Indian and Thai dishes for years, but until recently it had not occurred to me to attempt to use tamarind in anything myself. Last year, I was making a recipe that called for tamarind concentrate. We used it in a few dishes (and a few cocktails), and when I recently stumbled upon a bag of dried tamarind pods in a local international market, I decided it was finally time to figure out how to really use this lovely fruit.

Now, I am certainly not an expert on how to properly use tamarind. So for those of you who are, feel free to chime in on how I should have prepared this fruit.

First I cracked off the hard, outer pod. Then, inside the fruit are very large seeds which I removed. Although I probably could have infused the fruit at that point, I thought reconstituting the fruit a bit might help bring out the flavor. So I added some water and heated it on the stove (as above). It isn’t very pretty at this point, but it has that lovely, tangy flavor.

Tamarind-Orange Gin

50 g. tamarind flesh (approximately 1/3 cup)

1/2 c. water

Zest of 1 orange

1 1/2 c. Gin

2 TB Sugar

Combine the tamarind flesh and 1/2 cup water in a small sauce pan and place on stove. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 3-4 minutes, or until most of the water has either soaked into the flesh or evaporated. Remove from heat and let it cool.

After the tamarind cools, combine all ingredients in a jar, shake and let sit in a cool area for a few weeks. We let this infuse for about 3 weeks, but it seemed to infuse pretty quickly. You could probably do this in two weeks, or even use a bit more gin. Strain and filter through a strainer, cheesecloth or jelly bag, and finally a coffee filter.

We love this liqueur. Both the tamarind and orange flavors stand out beautifully. We have tried it in a gin and tonic, and I think you can guess how delicious it was. More cocktails recipes to follow…

Don’t let the tamarind intimidate you! I’m so pleased with how well this infused and how easy it was, we will make more tamarind infusions as well.

Enjoy!

Tamarind-Orange Gin on Punk Domestics