*Recent ruminations from LUPEC Boston, originally published in the Weekly Dig.
by Pink Lady
While we will hopefully enjoy the golden days of Indian summer in Boston for a few more weeks, we might as well get our ducks in a row now for the fall and winter sipping that’s on the horizon.
With ample time ahead, why not experiment with a little DIY liqueur making? Apples are beginning appear alongside tomatoes at the farmers market, and before long, we’ll be digging into pies, crisps and crumbles filled with them. A spicy, homemade liqueur is the perfect accompaniment to these delightful desserts.
By definition, a liqueur is an alcoholic beverage of a spirits base that can be flavored with botanicals (herbs, bark, seeds, roots), fresh and dried fruits, dairy products (cream, like Bailey’s), honey, spices or beans (think coffee, cocoa and vanilla). Liqueurs were first produced in Europe to combat intestinal problems, and many are still consumed as an aperitif/digestif today. And of course, many liqueurs find brilliant expression in cocktails.
Making a liqueur at home takes time, often at least a month. To make A.J. Rathbun’s recipe for the Italian liqueur Millefiori (“thousand flowers”), we’ll infuse our neutral spirit through a process of maceration, allowing the distilled spirit to steep with our ingredients for four weeks to capture their strong, spicy flavor.
When LUPEC met A.J. in Boston a few years back he confessed to us that this recipe is his favorite in the book. This fall we’re eager to give it a go.
from Luscious Liqueurs by A.J. Rathbun
2 tbsp whole coriander seeds
4-5 fresh mint leaves
0.5 tsp ground cardamom
0.5 tsp whole cloves
0.5 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
0.5 tsp ground mace
0.5 tsp fresh marjoram leaves
0.5 tsp fresh thyme leaves
4 cups vodka
1.5 cups simple syrup
1. Grind the coriander seeds and mint leaves with a mortar and pestle. You won’t want to destroy them, but you do want them broken up.
2. Put the coriander-mint combo, cardamom, cloves, lemon zest, mace, marjoram, thyme and vodka in a glass container with a tight-fitting lid. Stir well and seal. Place in a cool, dry spot away from sunlight. Let sit for two weeks, swirling it every couple of days.
3. Add the simple syrup, stir well and reseal. Return to its spot. Let sit for two weeks, swirling every couple of days.
4. Filter the liquid through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl. Carefully strain through a double layer of cheesecloth into a pitcher or other easy-pouring vessel. Finally, strain through two new layers of cheesecloth into another pitcher or bottle. Check that the liqueur is free of debris. If it isn’t, repeat this step until the desired clarity is reached. Pour the liqueur into one large bottle, or a number of small bottles or jars.