Saturday, 14 November 2015

CHRISTMAS LIQUEUR #1




It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Because after a couple of weeks of maturing my Christmas liqueurs are ready to drink. Actually I wasn’t at all interested in the flavours at first, because my main goal is to have as much colourful jars in my pantry as possible. But after tasting the various liqueurs I was dazzled by the rich flavours and bright colours even after sieving. And while I started out thinking I was making lots of Christmas gifts now I’m not so sure of that anymore. Maybe I wil keep it. All of it. And celebrate Christmas all winter and probably all spring long because I made so much I can drink a small glass of liqueur everyday and still have supplies by the end of May. Anyway, these liqueurs have already gone above and beyond my expectations so even if you’re remotely into sweet, flavourful, and colourful drinks I advice you to make these. Immediately, so they have enough time to mature for Christmas. And alright, I will give some of this epicness away as a special Christmas gift. But only because it doesn’t feel right to not share your epicness with Christmas.




But what did I make exactly? Liqueur, not to be confused with liquor, is an alcoholic drink made from a distilled spirit which is flavoured with fruit, flowers, spices, herbs, nuts, or cream and sweetened with sugar or syrup. Therefore liqueur is especially sweet and it doesn’t have to age long. But because of the various flavouring components liqueur usually does have a resting period so all the flavours can come together. Liqueur has an alcohol percentage of at least 20 percent and can be used as a digestive after meals or as an ingrediënt for cocktails. The origins of liqueur can be found in herbal medicines brewed by monks as early as the 13th century. Monks would create medical elixers by extracting herbs in alcohol. To create something that was actually drinkable the monks would add a lot of sugar. The best known liqueur brewed by monks is the French Chartreuse. Chartreuse is made by the monks from the Grande Chartreuse monastry in Grenoble in the French Alps. Chartreuse is not only the best known liqueur it’s also the most complex one for it’s made of more than 130 different plants, herbs and spices. The Chartreuse basis is an elixer which recipe leads back to 1605 and back then was already considered ancient. Some varieties of Chartreuse have to mature for four to twelve years. Good luck with that. Some serious next level liqueur. These liqueurs are not such professional material but are very nice nevertheless. And come on, you seriously wouldn’t want to wait for it until 2027?! If you start making them now they will all be ready in time for this Christmas! Next week I will post another three delicious liqueur recipes so stay tuned!





Vodka Orange Liqueur with Rosemary  
Makes 1 L
Takes 6-9 weeks to mature

Ingredients:
5 large organic oranges 
625 ml vodka
3 sprigs of fresh rosemary + more for decoration

1 large organic orange
325 ml water
300 gr sugar

1 preserving jar with a volume of 3/4 L
1 bottle with a volume of 1 L or several smaller bottles
little funnel 

1. Peel the 5 oranges and put the peels into the jar together with the vodka and the rosemary spigs. Leave to mature on a dark place for about 3 weeks. Shake the jar two times a week to mingle the flavours. 

2. Peel the last orange and put the peels together with the water and the sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Let simmer for about 15 minutes on low fire until the sugar is dissolved, you now have a sugar syrup to sweeten your liqueur with. Turn off the heat and let cool down completely. 

3. Sieve the jar into a jug. Sieve the suger syrup into a smaller jug. Taste your liqueur. Pour small amounts of the suger syrup into the liqueur and keep tasting afterwards. Start with 1/4 of the sugar syrup and keep adding more syrup until your liqueur is to your liking. 

4. Pour the liqueur in one or more bottles. Leave to rest for 1 week. If you're planning to give the bottles away as a Christmas present decorate them with homemade labels and a sprig of fresh rosemary. 





Whisky Liqueur with Coffee and Cardamom 
Makes 1 L
Takes 2 weeks to mature

Ingredients:
125 gr ground coffee
400 ml water

3 bruised cardamon pods
200 ml water
175 gr brown sugar

1 cardamon pod
350 ml Scottish whisky

1 preserving jar with a volume of 3/4 L
1 bottle with a volume of 1 L or several smaller bottles
little funnel 

1. Pour the water over the ground coffee and leave to rest overnight. Cover a sieve with a coffee-filter and pour the coffee into the sieve. Leave to drain for half an hour. Discard the coffee grounds. 

2. Put the 3 cardamon pods in a saucepan together with the water and the brown sugar and bring to a boil. Let simmer for about 15 min on low fire until the sugar is dissolved, you now have a sugarsyrup to sweeten your liqueur with. Turn off the heat and let cool down completely.

3. Pour the coffee into a the jar together with the last cardemon pod, the sugar syrup, and the whisky. Leave to mature for 2 weeks. Shake the jar two times a week to mingle the flavours.  

4. Sieve the liqueur in one or more bottles. If you're planning to give the bottles away as a Christmas present decorate them with homemade labels.

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