Awhile back, King-Man's colleague Mary told me she often makes her own cranberry liqueur. She said that she loved having it for a festive holiday cocktail mixer and to give as gifts. I was intrigued and started experimenting with recipes for making my own liqueur.
I especially like this cranberry liqueur recipe because it uses cranberry sauce (instead of fresh cranberries)--something many of us already have in our fridges this time of year. Unlike many liqueur recipes that require 6 to 8 weeks to be ready, this one only has to steep for 4 days. It's delicious, beautiful, and festive, and it's a versatile addition to numerous holiday cocktails. Check out my post of cocktail recipes that use this liqueur: Cranberry Liqueur Cocktail Recipes.)
Here's a photo of our friend, Emily, who enjoyed some of the cranberry liqueur at our annual Thanksgiving table. We put 2 tablespoons of the liqueur in a glass, and then topped it off with champagne. Easy, yummy, and perfect for a holiday toast!
Step 1. Assemble the ingredients:
view on Amazon: microplane
Step 2. Make a simple sugar syrup. Add the sugar and water to a pan and heat it up on the stove top. Stir and cook until the sugar is dissolved and the liquid is clear, not cloudy. That's also the weather forecast.
Step 3. Cool the sugar syrup completely and combine it in a large jar or other air tight container with the remaining ingredients: cranberry sauce, lime zest, and vodka. I mix mine in a 2 quart jar. A canning funnel makes the job much tidier.
Step 4. Put the jar in a cool, dark place or the refrigerator for at least 4 days or as long as a week. Every day, flip it over or give it a stir.
Step 8. After at least 4 days, it's time to strain the solids from the liquids. Put a wire strainer on top of a bowl and line it with a 2-layer piece of cheesecloth. Pour the contents of the jar into the strainer. You will have to do this in batches. It takes awhile for the liquid to run through to the bowl below. You can gently stir and press the mixture in the strainer to speed it along. But be patient. Let it drip.
Repeat the straining process until you have a clear, red liquid. The number of times you need to strain may vary depending on the size of the holes in the your strainer, and the weave of the cheesecloth. Mine was clear after the first time through the strainer.
Finished! Wasn't that easy? And look how beautiful the cranberry liqueur looks in these bottles. I love the swing-top bottles pictured below. It's easy to pour from them, and they make an impressive gift. You can use any kind of bottle or jar, as long as they have an air-tight top. Cork top bottles are not recommended, because the cork is porous and will allow the liquid to slowly evaporate.
Don't miss my post with Cranberry Liqueur Cocktail Recipes, it includes:
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Make it a Yummy day!
This updated post was originally published Nov. 27, 2010.