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DIY Liqueurs Anyone Can Make
Liqueurs are the flavor background for many of our favorite cocktails. Did you know that you can many liqueurs at home? From fruity peach and cranberry liqueurs to bar essentials like amaretto and Irish cream, there is a great variety of homemade liqueur recipes to choose from.
Many liqueurs require just a few things: an alcohol base, flavoring ingredients, and simple syrup. They can be very complex like many of the traditional Italian liqueurs or rather simple like fruit and herbal liqueurs. Some take just a few days before they're ready to drink, while others require a month or more to fully infuse the flavor.
The thing that all of these liqueurs have in common is that they're relatively easy to make. Once you get started, you'll wonder why you haven't been making them all along. To inspire your creativity, let's look at a few tried and true liqueur recipes.
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Replace the Kahlua
Coffee liqueurs like Kahlua and Tia Maria are among our favorite spirits in the bar. They're so useful, too. One bottle can give you a variety of cocktails, from the Black Russian to the Midnight Martini.
Making a coffee liqueur at home could not be easier. The recipe starts off with rum or vodka, to which a vanilla simple syrup is added along with some instant coffee. In a matter of ten days, your liqueur is cocktail-ready.
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The Ever-Useful Amaretto
Amaretto is another liqueur that we use all the time in the bar. Without it, we wouldn't be able to make great cocktails like the Orgasm or Toasted Almond. It's a staple in the bar and you'll be surprised at just how easy it is to make at home.
There are many ways to approach this almond-flavored liqueur. The easiest is to simply rely on almond extract for the flavoring. You will need quite a bit of it, but it's much easier than getting the flavor out of the nuts.
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Irish Cream Makes a Great Gift
Put down that bottle of Baileys and grab a bottle of Irish whiskey instead. It's time to make your own Irish cream. This is a quick homemade liqueur and it's a favorite gift for the holidays.
You will need a number of ingredients for the Irish cream, but they're all common. This is also a very quick liqueur and just needs to rest overnight. The catch is that this one has a short shelf life. That really doesn't matter, though, because it's so delicious that you'll drink it right up.Continue to 5 of 11 below.
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Sweet, Delicious Limoncello
Limoncello is a very sweet lemon-flavored liqueur and it is used to create some delicious cocktails. If you enjoy a zesty dessert drink the likes of the Lemon Cake or In & Out Lemontini, try it with your own limoncello.
You will need the peels from a lot of lemons for your homemade limoncello. That just means you'll have plenty of fresh juice ready for your cocktails. It can also take almost three months for your first batch to be ready, but it's definitely worth the wait.
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Let's Get Peachy
When peach season hits, grab a couple extra pounds and make your own peach liqueur. It's sweet, fruity, and a delicious alternative to commercial schnapps for any of your favorite peach cocktails.
This summertime liqueur recipe will take about a month before it's ready. It begins with a brandy and vodka base. To this, a heap of fresh peaches and a touch of lemon and orange zest are added. It's fabulous, easy, and, admittedly, difficult to wait for.
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The Liqueur for Cranberry Season
Though it's best with fresh cranberries, you can use the frozen variety for this tasty liqueur. That means there's no reason to wait for cranberry season to mix up an amazing Crantini.
This cranberry liqueur is unique because it begins with a full bottle of red wine. Add a cup of brandy, some sugar, and plenty of cranberries, and you're just a few days away from a great drink.
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The Exotic Taste of Lychee
Lychee is a fun and exotic fruit that made its way into the cocktail scene in the early 2000s. While most of the commercial liqueurs have come and gone, you can still get a taste of it with a homemade lychee liqueur.
The lychee fruit is common in Asian cuisine and it's used to make exotic drinks as well. This liqueur begins with vodka and is flavored with lychee, a hint of lime, and sweetened with simple syrup. It should be ready in about a month.Continue to 9 of 11 below.
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Slow Down With Sloe Gin
Sloe gin is an old-fashioned liqueur made from sloe berries. A few decades ago, you could find it in many bars because it was used in fun drinks like the Sloe Screw. It may not be as popular as it once was, but don't let that stop you from making your own sloe gin.
The sloe or blackthorn shrub is not native to North America, but you might find it around. Homemade sloe gin is, however, extremely popular in the UK, which is where this recipe comes from. It's another easy fruit liqueur that will take a month or two before it's ready to drink.
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Try a Walnut Liqueur
If you're a fan of nutty liqueurs like Frangelico, a homemade nocino may be the right liqueur for you. This is an Italian favorite that is made from walnuts that have yet to ripen, so it's a very seasonal recipe.
Like many nut liqueurs, nocino needs a little help in the flavor department. This recipe includes cloves, cinnamon, lemon zest, nutmeg, and coffee beans to complement the taste of green walnuts. It's a slow infusing liqueur, so you'll need to give it about a month to work its magic.
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Get Fancy With an Italian Amaro
When it's time to really get serious about your homemade liqueurs, give a bottle of old-fashioned Italian amaro a try. Amaros are bitters that are typically drunk before or after a meal. If you enjoy the likes of Averna or Amer Picon, you'll enjoy this amaro.
This particular amaro recipe is a digestif with a number of ingredients, but it's actually one of the simplest you will find. Herbs and spices like juniper berries, cloves, and sage build up layers of flavor to create a very elegant liqueur. It's fabulous on its own or it can be used in any cocktail that requires an amaro.