With a few simple ingredients, a little bit of effort, and a bit of patience to let time do its work, you can impress your friends and family with homemade liqueurs.
In general, homemade liqueur involves cooking fruit, herb, or another flavoring element with sugar and some alcohol and then soaking it in more alcohol.
The key to all of them? You will be well rewarded if you allow plenty of resting time for the flavors to blend and mellow before enjoying the result.
Creme de Cassis—This French classic is made with black currants. The most common—and some would insist best—way to use it is to make a kir, an aperitif of white wine and crème de cassis liqueur.
Homemade Fresh Blackberry Liqueur—Blackberry liqueur can become quite tannic, especially if you use wild blackberries, which tend to have more of a bitter edge. Serving it chilled keeps it delicious, as does combining it with a bit of seltzer in a cocktail.
Limoncello—This intensely sweet, intensely lemony liqueur is a favorite in Italy. Do not even think about serving it on its own without making sure it is well and deeply chilled. Since it’s all sugar and alcohol, it won’t freeze, so you can keep it in the freezer for the best flavor. Offer it in small portions as an after-dinner drink.
Bay Leaf and Rosemary Liqueur—This fragrant liqueur is inspired by some of the herbs of the Mediterranean scrub variety that are so hearty and flavorful. The result in an herbal affair with a sophisticated edge.
Grey’s English Creme Liqueur—Serve this vanilla-scented tea-flavored creamy liqueur is best all on its own—although one part this liqueur and one part whiskey over ice is a tempting combination.
Walnut Liqueur—Nocino is an Italian liqueur made with green, or unripe, walnuts. The result is deeply fragrant, unusually flavored, and completely intoxicating. It’s not always easy to find, so knowing how to make your own is valuable to those who love it.