A Bushel of Fruit-Time to Make Some Homemade Liqueurs

Avatar Gaye Levy  |  Updated: December 16, 2020
A Bushel of Fruit-Time to Make Some Homemade Liqueurs

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berry cordial

Note:  A newer version of this article appears here:

Easy Peasy DIY Berry and Fruit Liqueurs

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:

berries1. Thoroughly wash your berries or fruit then cut in to small pieces.  Don’t forget to remove all of the pits and the seeds.  Peeling is optional.

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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18 Responses to “A Bushel of Fruit-Time to Make Some Homemade Liqueurs”

    • Lonnie – No, I do not bother. I simply strain the fruit out when I do the final bottling the of the liqueur. I hope you have fun with this – it is really good!

  1. Here’s my Kahlua recipe and an Amaretto one too. Not that I’d drink or anything!!
    4 cups white sugar
    ¼ cup instant espresso (or very strong coffee)
    2 cups boiling water
    1 fifth brandy or vodka (750 mil)
    1 vanilla bean, split
    Mix dry ingredients together. Add boiling water and stir well; until all ingredients are dissolved. Remove from heat and add vanilla bean and brandy. Transfer to a dark bottle and let sit 30 days in a cool, dry place.
    2 cups boiling water
    1 cup sugar
    1 cup brown sugar
    1 tsp. almond extract
    1½ cups vodka
    Add sugars to boiling water and let simmer 5 minutes. Cool. Add vodka and extract. Age for one week.

    • I have written an article for Wednesday that includes my coffee liqueur recipe – similar to yours – as well as a killer chocolate cake using the homemade stuff. Between us, the readers at Backdoor Survival will have a jolly old time waiting for the world to end LOL 🙂

  2. I like wine very much, but don’t make my own. I buy the Arbor Mist wines in fruit flavors. My brothers mock me and say those wines are for teenaged girls, they are hairy chested vodka and whiskey drinkers. But I don’t drink that often, usually just before bed to help me sleep if at all, and I’m too old to care if my wine calls my masculinity into question anyway.

    • I remember Annie Green Springs from my college days. And wasn’t there a wine called Strawberry Hill? Perhaps I am dating myself LOL.

      These days I prefer my foo-foo martinis such as Cosmos and Appletinis.

      — Gaye

  3. I have a good friend that has made wine ( up to 50 gallons at a time ) that wins many state fair ribbons, he suggests to freeze the fruit and thaw before use as it releases more juice and flavor! Will need to try your liqueur !

  4. You didn’t mention the proof of the vodka. I’d like to use the 180 proof vodka variety since, in my opinion, it is more pure, with less additives. Any suggestions or advice?

    • I just checked the Vodka in my cupboard and it is 80 proof but it seems to me that 70 proof would be okay too. As far as 180 proof – wouldn’t that be really strong? For me, at least, I would want to dilute it a bit with water. Other than that, perhaps someone with more experience with stronger spirits can answer.

  5. That’s neat. Didn’t know it was so simple. It’s a shame, though, that you need starter alcohol to get this going. So, can you use this homemade liqueur in place of the vodka for future batches?

    • I have not used coffee beans or nuts but I have made a Kahlua type liqueur with a vanilla bean and instant coffee. I will see if I can find the recipe – it is an oldie from the 70s and so smooth . . . and much cheaper than store bought.

      — Gaye

    • Those darn typos. Yes, the brew should definitely be covered for the 2 to 3 weeks. I just made the correction – thanks so much for pointing this out.

      — Gaye

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