Note: A newer version of this article appears here:
Let’s have some fun today. Depending on your frame of mind, alcohol, be it wine, beer or the hard stuff, is a necessary component of the survival pantry. And even if can not or choose not to drink alcoholic beverages, spirits are useful as a barter item.
So how about some homemade fruit liqueurs? Creating homemade liqueurs if super simple. Here is the basic recipe:
- 1 pound berries or fruit, mix and match ok
- 3 cups vodka or brandy; the cheap stuff is fine
- 1 to 1 1/4 cup sugar; you can always add more later
What? You were expecting more. Truly, that’s it. Here are the instructions:
2. Place the prepared fruit in a large glass or earthenware container and add the vodka or brandy. Cover and set aside in a cool, dark place.
3. Stir the mixture once a week for 2 to 3 weeks.
4. Strain and discard the fruit. You can use a plain wire strainer or, if you want the best possible presentation, line your strainer with a coffee filter or cheesecloth first. This will insure that all of the micro-bits of fruit are removed.
5. Add the sugar and stir well. Pour the sweetened mixture back into a clean container and cover. (Hint: use the empty vodka bottle for this purpose.) For the first week or two, you may have to shake the bottle a few times to insure that all of the sugar gets dissolved.
Time Out. Now is the hard part. You need to let your fruity brew age for 3 months. If you want to cheat and take a little taste before then, at least give it 2 months or you will be disappointed.
This would be a good time to scout around for some empty bottles that you will use to store the finished product. Empty wine bottles, thrift store finds, import store treasures and even funky jars will work. Just make sure they are clean. If you need lids, you can use corks purchased from a craft store or even used, plastic wine corks.
6. At the end of 3 months, do a taste test. Not sweet enough? Add more sugar. Too sweet? Add more vodka and some water in a 1:1 ratio.
7. Carefully pour your concoction into a clean bottle. Label the bottle and you are done. The flavor will continue to develop over a period of 6 months so the longer you wait the better.
How do you use a fruit liqueur?
Glad you asked.
- Sip it as a post dinner cocktail
- Pour over a scoop of ice cream for a colorful dessert (adults only)
- Use the vodka version to make an amazing martini. Mix your fruit liqueur 1:1 with triple sec for a knock-you-socks off Fruitini (a Survival Woman special). Likewise, try the brandy version in a Sidecar.
- Decorate the bottle and use your fruit liqueur as a hostess gift during the holiday season
What about the fruit?
For a lot of us, it is blackberry picking time. You know what I am referring to: those luscious berries that grow wildly in brambles along the roadside – free for the the picking. For others, there are the end of season fruits that are so abundant at farmers markets or in your own back yard. Just to give you some ideas, try making your fruit liqueur with blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, peaches, tart apples, pineapples, oranges, lemons, or sour cherries. Experiment with what you have on hand and feel free to mix and match.
Whatever the source and whatever the fruit, now is the time to brew up some homemade fruit liqueurs not only for your own enjoyment but as gifts for the holiday season. Have fun!
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
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Lodge Charcoal Chimney Starter: This is another one of those items that I never knew existed until I started practicing cooking with charcoal on my Volcano Grill. This sure beats using lighter fluid and it is FAST! Amazing, actually.
550 lb. Type III Nylon Paracord: I wish I had known about Paracord years ago. With a recent price reduction to less than $8.00, there is no reason not to have a few hundred feet around your home, in your car, and in your bug out bag.
Lodge Logic 12-Inch Pre-Seasoned Skillet: Finally! My favorite cast iron skillet is back under $20. For awhile it was priced at $25. Keep and eye on this one. Anything under $19 is a good price. Don’t forget the Lodge Set of 2 Pan Scrapers, a must have for cleaning those food bits from your cast iron cookware.
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