Thank you for taking part in one of our Make Your Own Liqueur events!
Below are detailed instructions as to what to do next, as well as my email if any additional questions should arise.
If you are enjoying the process so far, Let's keep it going! Join Alcohol Alchemy today for free. Our monthly meetup is a great opportunity to share what you've made and keep trying new recipes among other enthusiasts.
Make Your Own Liqueur Follow-up Instructions
Phase 1: Choose your base spirit (if you haven't already added it)
Choice: This is a personal decision as much as the type of liqueur you want to make, but generally speaking when you are starting out it's best to choose a neutral spirit like vodka, or a white (unaged or lightly aged) rum, whiskey or tequila. If you do choose a longer-aged product, like your favorite whiskey, brandy, cognac, etc., then you may consider using some stronger flavoring agents.
Phase 2: Combine flavoring agents with base spirit, and wait.
The basic process after you have combined your base spirit and flavoring agents:
1. Place in cool area away from direct sunlight. Do not refrigerate.
2. Let sit for about 2-3 weeks* (see Q&A below). “Agitate” every few days. Simply tip it upside down a few times. Do not shake it like a cocktail.
4. Add Sugar
Q: Two weeks, eh?
A: As critical as it is to start with delicious, high-quality ingredients, one of the most important ingredients is time.
A typical time for a liqueur to macerate is about 2-4 weeks. Many recipes will calibrate the volume of each ingredient to account for this time frame. That said…. two weeks is not a hard and fast rule.
Different herbs and spices extract at different rates, so the ideal time will vary depending on your blend and your personal taste. You may only need a couple days, or you may decide to extend yours to 3 or 4 weeks (or months), if you want a more intense result.
If you are having trouble deciding how long to macerate your particular blend, you can reach out to me at joecan@CannellaSpirits.com and we will work through it.
Q: Filter with what?
A: You can use a cheesecloth, or a coffee filter (do not use a Brita - I speak from experience.). For home batches I’ll typically put a cheese cloth over the jar and secure with a strong rubber band, then pour into another container.
Q: What type of sugar? How much?
A: Up to you. You can go with basic cane sugar, brown sugar, honey, agave.... Whatever you think will work best for your flavor profile. With vodka, I’ll typically go with cane sugar, brown sugar with rum, agave with tequila, and honey with an aged brandy or cognac, but it’s really personal preference!
If you are using granulated sugar (white / brown / raw), be sure to make it a simple syrup before adding to your liqueur. To do this, simply make a 50/50 mixture (½ cup sugar, ½ cup water), put it into a small pot and heat it up. You don’t need to boil it, just heat up and stir until it is fully incorporated.
How much sugar to add is also personal preference. I would recommend starting at about 10% by volume (many liqueurs are 15% - 20%, although my Cannella Cinnamon Cordial is less than 6%). So if you have a 200ml container, I would add 22ml to arrive at 10%. You may choose to add more, but of course, you can’t take it out once you’ve added it so start low and add more to your liking.
Q: Should I “rest” it before enjoying?
A: Once you have filtered your liqueur, you don’t have to let it rest at all, if you like it as is. I often let mine sit for at least another week to let the flavors and sugars settle in a bit more. You may find additional sediment at the bottom of the jar, which you can choose to filter out further, or to leave as is. Leaving it in can mean that those flavors continue to intensify over time, which you may or may not prefer.
Q: How should I enjoy it?
Sip on its own, make a variation of your favorite cocktail, or spice up a hot drink like tea or cocoa. But whatever you do, give your liqueur a nice home. You can find really cool glassware at Goodwill for only a few dollars, and it really will impact the experience of enjoying your liqueur!
That’s it. Enjoy!
And if there's anything you'd still like to know, just reach out to me at joecan@CannellaSpirits.com