This time of year, I’m torn.
One one hand… I really hate the commercialization of certain holidays, and how THAT results in stuff like Halloween displays in Menards… in August. Christmas displays in September. It gets earlier and earlier every year. Also, really… The holiday season stresses me out. It means doing my grocery shopping at 5 am, to avoid the crowds and horrible bell-ringer-induced headaches. People body checking each other in order to get the perfect gift or the last box of cocoa on the shelf. Just.. yeah. I digress…
On the other hand, I love giving handmade gifts. There’s something really satisfying about putting the finishing touches on the presentation of your own handiwork, and seeing the joy on the recipients’ face. It’s something personal small-batch, unique, and… not pulled off a shelf at the last minute. You know. Special.
Thing is, a lot of hand made gifts require planning ahead. It does no one any good for me to give Christmas gift ideas in December, when they take 3 months to make. As my friend Karen pointed out yesterday, she always gets a laugh when newspapers publish recipes for making your own corned beef ON St Patty’s Day.
So.. I’m sorry. I know it’s the beginning of September, and I hate thinking “Holiday” this early just as much as anyone. In the interest of helping you give some awesome gifts this year, however, I’m going to write a few blog entries on homemade holiday gifts. Now.
Some will take only a couple weeks to make, others may take a couple months of wait time. Many are ingredient dependent, and best to start NOW. What’s the point of posting a recipe for fresh blueberry liqueur in mid December, for instance? Also, most liqueurs taste better (smoother) with a bit of aging,
So, let’s talk liqueur making.
Liqueur makes an awesome gift, especially when it makes use of seasonally available produce, herbs, etc. On a cold December night, is anything better than getting a whiff or a sip of summers’ bounty?
This recipe was inspired by Fragoli liqueur, a beautiful little libation I was recently introduced to via Twitter. It’s an imported sweet wild strawberry liqueur. Tasty in its own right, but what makes it really special – and pretty – is all of the little wild strawberries floating at the top of each bottle!
As much as we love Fragoli, one of my first thoughts was “Hrm… this would be FABULOUS as a blueberry liqueur!”. And.. here we are. Oh, it’s delicious!
This recipe makes about 6 cups of finished liqueur, perfect to bottle in either 2 750 ml bottles, or 4 375 ml bottles. To bottle it as pictured – “Fragoli-style”:
– The day before bottling, soak a pint of blueberries in vodka overnight. Remove any smashed or mushy blueberries before covering with vodka. Refrigerate.
– Immediately before bottling, strain the blueberries. Carefully add the smaller berries to the clean bottles BEFORE bottling the liqueur.
– Pour liqueur over the berries, leaving only an inch or so of head room. Cap as desired.
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