A liqueur is sweetened alcoholic beverage made from a distilled spirit that has been flavored with fruit, cream, herbs, spices, flowers or nuts. They make really great presents, and are super simple to make.
The decision to make our liqueur from dried cranberries came simply from the fact that I had bought some while they were on offer, and it occurred to me that using dried fruit should give a lovely depth of flavour which would be perfect for the winter.
200g Sweetened Dried Cranberries
Zest from 2 Oranges
50g White Sugar (if using unsweetened cranberries you may want to increase the sugar)
75cl Bottle of Vodka
Simply pop all your ingredients into a glass Jar or bottle big enough to hold them all, that also seals well enough that you can get away with giving it a shake without it all leaking out! I don’t usually bother sterilising my Jars for fruit alcohols as I believe the spirits have a high enough alcohol content to kill any bacteria, so I just go for ‘dishwasher clean’. Give the Jar a good shake and store in a cool dark place. Shake each day for the first week. Leave to mature for at least a month – you will notice that the colour leeches out of the fruit into the spirit as time goes on.
I usually leave fruit liqueurs to infuse for 2-3 months - I taste it periodically to check the flavours. Once the taste is to your liking, strain the fruit through butter muslin and bottle. On this occasion, the residue fruit tasted really yummy, so I have popped it into the freezer, with the plan to add it to a crumble, or something like mincemeat in the future! These fruit spirits should keep for a number of years stored in a cool dark place, and apparently will develop a more complex flavour the longer you keep them.
Fruit liqueurs are great enjoyed neat, mixed into cocktails (we have a really bad habit of adding them to Prosecco), and to have in the cupboard ready to give as a little gift.