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!!
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…
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:
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:
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:
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:
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!
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…
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…
…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.
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:
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!
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!
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!