March 13, 2011

Orange Milk Liqueur recipe, and experimentation updates!

Want to know how my experimental orange milk liqueurs turned out?!

orange milk liqueur

The orange vanilla liqueur, based on this recipe(ish), turned out really well!!  It tastes just like an adult creamsicle in liquid form!  So, here’s my recipe (easy to double for a larger batch):

  • 1 cup vodka (flavorless, I use Oregon Springs brand, which is like 1 step up from the cheapest options)
  • 1 cup milk (I used whole for this one, but I think 2% would be fine)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 mandarin oranges, sliced into 4 pieces each (other kinds of oranges should work fine too)
  • 1/2 lemon, sliced into 3 pieces
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

making orange milk liqueurs!

Mix the milk, vodka, and sugar together in a glass jar, then add the fruit and vanilla.  Put the lid on and shake a bunch so it’s well blended.  The next day it’ll be separated and look something like this:

making orange milk liqueurs!

Mix it up by shaking the jar once per day, and the separating will be less as the days pass.  I made two batches and filtered one after 11 days and the other after 3 weeks, to test how much of a difference it would make… I can taste the difference between the two, but barely.  The 3 week liqueur is a wee bit more flavorful, but the 11 day one is superduper delicious too.

So, my conclusion for that is:  if you’re in no hurry, let it sit (shaking once per day) for about 3 weeks, but if there’s a reason you want it done sooner (like if it’s a gift), then about 10 days is enough time.

homemade chocolate liqueur!

Now comes the filtering – there are a few steps here.  First, strain the whole thing through a fine mesh strainer, and/or cheese cloth, to get out all the solids.  Next, line a strainer (or a funnel) with a paper coffee filter, and pour the milky liquid in.  It’ll take some time to filter through (overnight maybe), and it’ll coat the filter in milk solids, so you’ll need to change filters a few times as needed.

Once all your liqueur has gone through the coffee filters once, I recommend giving it one more run through – now that all the milk solids are filtered out, the second time goes very quickly and only one more coffee filter should be needed.  You can run that second filtering through a funnel, directly into your glass bottle, and then you’ll be left with a beautiful golden, delicious liqueur!

my first 3 orange milk liqueurs!

Above are the 2 batches of orange vanilla liqueur (center and right) and then my super experimental orange spice liqueur…  The orange spice is not ready to share a recipe yet – I learned some huge liqueur-making lessons with that experiment.  Well, one huge lesson: don’t make liqueur with ground spices!  I think the ground cinnamon was the main problem.  Filtering took about 4 days, 3 or 4 times through, and probably about 12 or more coffee filters – not fun!  Once all that filtering was finished, it made a totally drinkable liqueur, but man, it has bite!  I can’t really taste the orange, just the spice!  Good, though!

So, I’m now trying out some updated experimental liqueurs using cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, and some crystalized ginger pieces…

experimental spiced milk liqueurs

There’s an orange spice, an orange+apricot spice, and a plain dried apricot milk liqueur.  I got some liqueur making books, but there’s no mention of milk liqueurs (I think they are a traditional Portuguese thing that’s just starting to be known in the states thanks to this book, but I could be totally wrong and they could have some other origin… anyone know?) – so, I’m using the idea of a dried apricot liqueur from one of the books, and turning it into a milk liqueur.  Based on how the orange ones turned out, I think it’ll work well!

Oh, a couple other things I want to share before I go – first, don’t use the kind of jar from Ikea like I used for the spiced liqueur!  Major leaking, no good!  I later found these jars at The Container Store that are working really well, and the biggest size I found is big enough for a batch with 2 cups each of milk/vodka/sugar, as long as I don’t need to add lots of solids (like orange slices) that take up space.

orange milk liqueur

And one last thing – I used this idea to remove the labels from recycled jars and bottles, and it works really well!  Once you use up the vodka for your liqueur, and whatever other glass bottles that have good lids, soak them in water with some shampoo for a few hours – with some kinds of labels, they will literally just fall off the bottle in the water (I think TJ’s blood orange soda was one of these), but others will just become looser and easier to scrape off.

I think that’s all I’ve got for you now.  Happy daylight savings day!

Filed under: drinks,recipes — leethal @ 4:27 pm

February 4, 2011

Making milk liqueurs!

I decided to try out a new thing for fun this year: liqueur-making!  Thanks to pinterest, I read how easy it is to make a basic milk liqueur (on Lottie + Doof)… I thought, hmm, maybe I’ll try that someday… and then I came across 2 more recipes and just couldn’t get the idea out of my head!  So I bought the ingredients (milk, sugar, vodka, lemon, and chocolate for the recipe I decided to try), got a big mason jar, and tried making a half-batch to see how it would turn out.  The final liqueur is delicious!!

homemade chocolate liqueur!

It uses almost all things I already had, making it cheap and easy enough even for me, someone who does not spend much free time in the kitchen…

homemade chocolate liqueur!

I used cheap vodka – the recipe said to use grappa, which I’ve never even seen and read is expensive… but more research into liqueur making told me that most people recommend using something cheap because the difference in flavor in the final liqueur is not noticeable.  So, some $7 Oregon Springs vodka, and a bar of Ghiradelli bittersweet baking chocolate were what I chose:

homemade chocolate liqueur!

I followed the instructions, shaking up the ingredients in the jar (I used 1 cup each of vodka, milk, sugar, 1/4 of a lemon, and 1 ounce of chocolate – grating that chocolate was by far the hardest part of the whole process!).  It didn’t really look “curdled” like they said it would, but the next morning it had separated quite a bit, before I shook it up – I didn’t photograph it then, but the following morning it was separated only a little on the bottom.  On the left, you can see how it looked pre-shaking, then after shaking:

homemade chocolate liqueur! homemade chocolate liqueur!

So, I gave it the 10 days, shaking every day, then came the filtering!  Pouring it through the cheesecloth was much easier said than done, but I managed to do that, then filtered it through coffee filters.  Even just for my half-batch, I used 3 filters to get through it all – it leaves a thick layer of the milk/chocolate behind in the filter, so you have to keep changing it:

homemade chocolate liqueur! homemade chocolate liqueur!

And then, the recipe said “You can repeat this step once or twice to clarify it as much as possible. (I didn’t)” and I was waiting for my bottles in the dishwasher, so I figured this trial batch would be a good time to try filtering it through twice to see if it would make a difference.  Well, the second time went super quickly, since all the solids were already filtered out – only 1 filter was needed for that:

homemade chocolate liqueur!

I left a bit of the once-filtered, so I could see/taste the difference.  Below, you can see how the twice-filtered (left) is more golden and less milky than the once-filtered.  And the taste really is noticeably better!  The chocolate flavor is stronger and the whole taste has more depth, I think, in the twice-filtered.  So, I definitely recommend running it through a filter once more!

homemade chocolate liqueur!

After that little test batch went so well, I wanted to try more!  So, using the concept of this recipe from SF Weekly (which is not exactly an actual recipe – “equal parts vodka, milk, and sugar… oranges and lemons and a spoonful of vanilla” but with no ratios of how much orange/lemon/vanilla), I made a few batches of orange liqueur…

making orange milk liqueurs!

I still have a few weeks before I can tell you how they turn out, but if they are a success, I will tell you exactly what I did!  I basically made 2 identical batches of 1 cup each milk/vodka/sugar, mandarin oranges, some lemon, and a little vanilla…

making orange milk liqueurs! making orange milk liqueurs!

…with my plan being to finish off the 2 batches at different times.  The chocolate milk liqueur I made only needed to sit for 10 days, but the orange liqueur “recipe” which is very similar, says to leave it for 3 weeks.  Anyone know why this might be??  So, I plan to filter one after 2 weeks, and the other after 3 weeks, and see if there’s a difference.

making orange milk liqueurs!

Then I made a 3rd experimental batch of an orange spiced version!  And, with the little bit (less than 1 cup) of vodka I had left, I’m trying out some orange infused vodka as well:

making orange milk liqueurs!

For the spiced version, I skipped the vanilla, and added some cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.  It might be a total failure, since I don’t know what I’m doing yet, but I’m excited to find out!  It might be delicious!

making orange milk liqueurs!

Here they are on the next morning – see how much they separate at first.  By the 3rd or 4th day, that separating pretty much stops and they stay blended, as long as you shake/mix them every day.  If any of these is a success, I’ll be giving you actual recipes!  I’m hoping for the best!

making orange milk liqueurs!

Anyone out there have experience with making liqueurs?  My birthday is next week, and I want to get a book or two and maybe some new supplies and/or fun ingredients since I’m having a lot of fun with this!  I’d love any book recommendations, advice, or anything else you might have!

Filed under: drinks,recipes — leethal @ 2:56 pm
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