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
  • OK this is completely awesome! I’m totally going to try this.

  • Smallestfriend

    Wow! I’ve never heard of this before. I made infused vodka last summer ( grapefruit, cucumber, jalepeno) now I want to try this. And milk liqueur seems a bit more wintery, no?

  • i saw something like this in blog land but never checked it out. i’m kind of obsessed with making my own alcohol (i haven’t done it yet, just obsessing) and im curious about the good bacteria in this from the decomposing milk. all the lactose would be dead, so it wouldn’t be a problem for the intolerance. yUM! think i’m going to try this. one week? maybe a good vday gift! XO

  • This is a really interesting thought! I’ve been enjoying your blog for some time – I started as a knitter but love the variety of Stuff you Do.

  • We made a bunch of “lime-cello” (limoncello, but with limes instead of lemons) this past Christmas and it was a *huge* hit. We used lime trees from our own backyard (the lemon tree wasn’t yet producing…) so that made it extra special. :)

    I found the recipe at the incredible site Limoncello Quest, where he also has some recipes for making other fruit-infused liqueurs (like with limes!)

    Our lime-cello was delicious. You can see some shots of our work at my blog. Here it is in progress:

    And here is the final, bottled product:

    It was nerve-wracking to wait so long and hope against hope that it would turn out okay, but it is dee-licious! Everyone is clamoring for more. :) Fortunately, we’ve got some limoncello (the lemon tree finally came through) brewing right now. Here’s hoping that comes out as well!

    Thanks for your post — I’ve never heard of milk liqueurs before and now I’m dying to try some of that. Perhaps for next year’s holiday gift (if I can wait that long…)

  • Oh! I forgot to mention (even though I wrote the longest comment in history) that the guy who runs Limoncello Quest is selling an e-book now (since you said you were looking for books). You can buy it here at the site.

    I’ve bought it but not yet delved into it, so I cannot give a review yet. His free recipes have been incredibly thorough and helpful, so I imagine the book will be the same. Also, he’s got a money-back guarantee on it, so if it doesn’t work for you, there’s that.

    (I’m not at all affiliated with that site, btw. I’ve just found it to be extremely helpful, so I’m passing on what I’ve used. Hope it helps you too!)

  • I’m really tempted to make orange liqueur now. The only thing stopping me is the milk and it’s pesky lactose. I have no idea if the finished product will make me sick or not.

  • Lee

    oh but most liqueur recipes don’t involve milk, just the ones I’ve been playing around with so far – this orange liqueur takes 2 steps, but very few ingredients (just vodka, oranges, and sugar): http://www.sidewalkshoes.com/2010/12/orange-liqueur.html

    Let me know if you try it and how it goes! :)

  • Beth

    Happy (early) birthday, lee!

  • What fun! I’ve got my grandmother’s recipe for making kahlua! If you’re interested, I will send you the recipe.

  • Leah

    so how did the experimental batches turn out?

  • I saw Milk Punch on Smitten Kitchen, who mentions Ben Franklin’s Milk Punch recipe. When I read through it, it sounds so much more like your Milk Liqueur than the Milk Punch in her pictures… Here are the links to both if you haven’t seen, and after reading your blog for over a year now, I think you’ll find the Ben Franklin recipe interesting. (Hope you don’t mind me posting links)
    Ben Franklin: http://www.masshist.org/objects/2004december.cfm
    Smitten Kitchen: http://smittenkitchen.com/2010/12/milk-punch/

  • Pingback: do stuff! » Orange Milk Liqueur recipe, and experimentation updates!()

  • Lee

    just blogged the update! http://www.leethal.net/zine/?p=1402

  • Lee

    ooooooh I’m super interested!! :)

  • Lee

    thanks so much for the info and links – lime-cello sounds like a fabulous one to try this summer!! yum!

  • Lee

    yeah, super interesting! thanks for those links! different from the milk liqueurs, but yeah, similar… maybe i’ll have to try someday.

  • Pingback: Milk Punch. Milk Punch? Oh, you mean Milk Punch. « Nuts to Soup()

  • I have been making my own liqueurs for a few years now. As a part of the SCA it’s one of those things many are familiar with. I went looking for a shelf stable version of Irish Cream and could never find one. Then my wife gave me an idea and it has gone over very well.

    24 good caramels without wrapper
    1 bottle of bushmills Irish whiskey
    1 large mason jar

    place all of the caramels in the jar and fill with Irish. Shake at least once a day till all the candy is dissolved.
     I usually serve it unfiltered (with a shake to mix) as it looks like the standard irish cream, but I have filtered it as well and the amber results still maintains the flavor.

  • Jim355749

    You are setting the curd in your milk with the citric acid and that is what you have in your strainer , the strained portion is your whey which when you add sugar can be fermented to produce alcohol…you have stumbled into cheese making in a sense….LOL

  • I made a milk liqueur with oranges recently. One is just milk, orange, vodka, and a little sugar. The other replaces half the sugar with a raw buckwheat honey and adds a bay leaf. Oh. My. God. That honey is so so good in that infusion. I also used the separated milk curds (sans orange meat) in a vodka-tomato sauce. I’ve noticed that letting the infusions or liqueurs age a while after filtering allows the flavors to mature and blend much nicer than when drinking straight after the filtration.

  • Quick question…did the original liquor taste like milk when you were done? Or did it taste like chocolate.

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