Sunday, December 19, 2010

Ke Ala 'Ula Liqueurs

After picking up a copy of Luscious Liqueurs: 50 Recipes for Sublime and Spirited Infusions to Sip and Savor at work, I got inspired to try my hand at making some liqueurs. Over 10 years ago I made a couple infused vodkas (satsuma and apple pie), and more recently I've made bacon infused bourbon, mint infused rum, and pumpkin pie vodka - but I'd never followed any recipes or made a liqueur, so I was excited to try something new and be able to stock our bar with homemade booze.

I picked up a couple Anchor Hocking 2-1/2-Gallon Jars from Amazon, hit the grocery store for ingredients and then Dan & I spent an afternoon peeling, chopping, zesting, cooking and stirring up the ingredients to make an Almond Liqueur (similar to Amaretto) and an Orange Liqueur (akin to TripleSec). We picked them because of their relationships to two of our favorite tropical cocktails: Mai Tais and Margaritas.

That was back in mid-November, and after a month of resting and infusing, it was time to bottle. A coworker tipped me off to Specialty Bottle down on 4th Ave S, and I acquired dozens of cool swing top and screw cap bottles, plus some big jugs, for storing our concoctions - which turned out pretty darn good, if I say so myself. I made up some labels on the computer, naming the liqueurs based on the Hawaiian words for orange and almond.

Can't wait to enjoy a drink featuring these in our bar! And to start on the next two batches of liqueurs. Maybe a pineapple rum, coconut vodka or macadamia nut liqueur?

Almond Liqueur
1 cup skin-on whole raw almonds
1 Tbspn freshly grated orange zest
2 1/2 cups brandy
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1 Tbspn vanilla extract

Coarsely chop the almonds. Put them, orange zest, and brandy in a glass container with a tight fitting lid. Stir well. Seal and place the container in a cool, dry, dark spot for 2 weeks, swirling occasionally.

Combine the sugars and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stirring occasionally, bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat a bit, keeping the mixture at a low boil for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the syrup completely cool in the pan. (This step can be done any time during the 2 weeks, then refrigerated until added to the liqueur.)

Add the syrup and vanilla to the brandy mixture, stir well and reseal. Return to a cool, dry, dark spot for 2 more weeks, swirling at least every other day.

Carefully strain the liqueur through a double layer of cheesecloth into a pitcher or easy pouring vessel. Strain again through 2 new layers of cheesecloth into storage bottles.

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