Every year the garden gives me an abundance of fruits that I love to play around with – looking for new ways to enjoy them and share them with others. One of the ways that I found to share the “fruits of our labor” throughout the year is to make liqueurs. They are easy and fun to make and some of them even have a medicinal value. The best part is sharing them in the winter as holiday gifts! They are always appreciated and when there are a variety of flavors people look forward to trying a different one each year.
Sometimes I keep the flavors simple and use only one item in each liqueur. Other times, I find it’s fun to experiment and have mixed flavors. Even if you make the flavors individually, they can be mixed when served.
1 ¼ c. sugar
1 c. water
1 ½ c. vodka
- Boil sugar and water until clear, stirring frequently to avoid burning.
2. Put your chosen fruit, herb or vegetable in a jar. Pour the cooled sugar syrup into the jar. Add the vodka. Close tightly and let sit for a month in a cool, dark place. Strain the plant matter out of the liquid and store for serving. Enjoy!
Kaffir Lime – 10 – 12 medium kaffir lime leaves – spring
Mixed Mint – ½ c. each chopped mint leaves, especially good with spearmint and peppermint – spring
Lemon – 2 medium lemons, chopped (no seeds) – any time you have it
Mulberry – 2 c. fresh mulberries – summer
Ginger – ⅛ c. grated ginger + juice – fall
Almond – 2 c. roasted almonds, chopped in half – fall
Fennel – ½ c. seeds – fall or in summer you can use the flower heads or immature seed heads; not a fruit; used medicinally to calm cranky tummy after overeating or a rich meal
You can be creative with this. I have used other fruits, too, like Cherry, Pear, Fig, Prickly Pear. Sometimes, I like to mash the fruit and warm it a little before putting it in the jar (like with figs).
The other way I indulge in a sweet summer is with homemade ice cream. I have found that the creamiest ice creams are made with the liqueurs. Just a little bit of alcohol helps to keep it from freezing solid so it’s easy to scoop and delectable on the tongue. If you’re concerned about the alcohol it’s mild and can’t be tasted or felt through the flavors. Here’s my basic Mulberry Ice Cream recipe. In the photos, I used buttermilk instead of goat milk and added some chocolate chopped in small pieces.
Mulberry Ice Cream – ½ gallon
2c. whipping cream
1 ½ c. goat milk
¾ c. maple syrup
1 Tbsp. Mexican vanilla
2 cups mulberry liqueur
- Cook mulberry liqueur into a concentrated syrup. The two cups will make about ¾ c. of mulberry syrup.
- Whisk eggs, maple syrup, vanilla and milk thoroughly.
- Add cooled mulberry syrup. Mix well.
- Freeze in ice cream machine. If using smaller machine, do half a batch at a time.
- Let sit overnight in freezer.
- Serve topped with fresh mulberries.
Have fun! You can special order my ice creams ($7 a pint) during the summer months. Take a look at the products page to see what flavor you want.