10 Homemade Liqueurs to Bottle for Tasty Gifts
Last Christmas, my dear friend "MZ" mailed me a present that included a bottle of her homemade Amaretto liqueur. I have been enjoying it as a dessert or nightcap throughout the year. As I sipped some recently, I started thinking about my own Christmas gift list and thought liqueurs would be a fun project, too. So, many thanks to my friend for her delicious Amaretto — and her inspiring idea. (See also: 25 Gifts You Can Make Today)
Some of the recipes below need a few months to sit — so for instance, don't start Cherry Liqueur on Black Friday.
In order to give out your liqueur(s) as gifts, you will also need to gather up some nice bottles or jars, washed and sterilized, and some labels and ribbon. Specialty Bottle has a nice selection. You will also need some cheesecloth, usually found in grocery stores or canning sections of hardware stores. This will be for straining the fruits or nuts out of the liqueurs. Most need a cool, dark place for storage and aging, so you'll need to find a good/safe place in your kitchen or pantry.
To keep the price of making these liqueurs down, watch for sales on vodka and brandy, both of which are used prominently. (See also: 17 Uses for Vodka)
Let's start with Amaretto. If you like almond flavor, you probably would like this Amaretto recipe. I like the fact that it isn't over-the-top sweet. It can be served as dessert, along with a cup of coffee. It's also good over ice cream. I begged my friend for her recipe, and she shared her source. The photo below shows how nicely she bottled and labeled it. It was such a fun gift!
My Uncle Bill made wonderful Kahlua, and he gave me his recipe, which I treasure. It is great on its own, or in coffee, or with a little added cream. Vanilla beans are pricey, but well worth the expense.
- 3 ¼ cups sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, diced
- 2 oz. instant coffee
- 1 Fifth of Brandy
- 3 cups boiling water
Put vanilla bean in sterile bottle. Boil water, stir in coffee and sugar. Let cool and add brandy. Pour into bottle and cap tightly. Let set for thirty days. Strain and re-bottle in sterile bottle.
3. Cherry Liqueur
If you like cherry-flavored things, this Cherry Liqueur recipe will not disappoint. I could hardly wait for cherries to go on sale so that I could start this recipe. A little goes a long way! I think in my mother's day she'd have made a cocktail with this liqueur and either Coke or 7-Up and ice.
4. Peach Liqueur
Peaches are on sale now, and this recipe needs to age, so it's a great time to try this Peach Liqueur. My dad will love this, and remind of him of a time when he picked peaches as a teen outside Sacramento. The aroma is wonderful.
This one's for Wise Bread's own Meg Favreau, who actually told me she has the makings for this already. If you can get some green walnuts, try Nocino — a spicy, sweet walnut liqueur. I also think this would make a wonderful Thanksgiving hostess gift.
My pal Anne went to Italy and brought back a bottle of Limoncello for us. It's so refreshing, especially after a heavy meal. I don't believe I'll be traveling to Italy anytime soon, but that doesn't mean I'm deprived. Giada de Laurentis of the Food Network has a great Limoncello recipe. To keep your cost down, look for lemons at a farmer's market.
7. Apple Liqueur
My husband spent some time in Germany and suggested we try to make Apfelkorn, which he loved while he was there. Apfelkorn is technically a schnapps but he said this Apple Liqueur was a great substitute.
We tried two different ways of making this liqueur — one with sugar (two teaspoons) and one without. Both are good but we prefer the version with the sugar, as the apple flavor seems more pronounced. I plan to try a little bit of this in some very dry champagne, which I think would be a great cocktail. (See also: 20 Two-Ingredient Cocktails)
I love the flavor of licorice so had to try this Anisette recipe. Star anise stars as the licorice flavor, ably supported by vodka and simple syrup.
9. Chocolate Liqueur
If you have ever tried Godiva's Chocolate Liqueur, you will be happy about this copycat recipe. You can use it in dessert recipes or just sip on its own, which is exactly what I like to do. It needs a month to age, and the straining process takes a while. It's worth the wait, though, and if you have friends who are chocolate lovers, they will be thrilled. (See also: Delicious Drinks You Can Make at Home)
10. Irish Cream
If you procrastinated about making one of these liqueurs ahead of the holidays, don’t despair! You can still whip something up. What I love about this copycat recipe for "Bailey's" Irish Cream is that it doesn't need to be aged! It does need to be refrigerated, so be mindful of that. My first test batch was a major hit with the neighbors, who happily agreed to taste-test.
There you have it — 10 ideas for gift giving, so you will be ahead of the Christmas Rush!
What's your favorite homemade infused liqueur?