Homemade cordials make excellent gifts throughout the year. They last indefinitely but need to steep for a while before drinking.
These liqueurs can be used for cooking in place of extracts, to add a splash of sass to a plain-Jane dessert or enjoyed straight and civilized after dinner.
Here are the basics to get you started:
Age cordials in sterilized glass containers with tight-fitting lids. If you choose a cork topper, it must be new.
Use cheesecloth, a finely-meshed sieve or coffee filters to strain and filter your concoctions.
Makes 4 cups
- 3 whole sweet oranges, cut into wedges
- 1/2 lemon
- 2 whole cloves
- 3 cups vodka
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
1. Place the oranges, lemon, cloves and vodka in a jar. Make sure vodka covers the fruit.
2. Steep ten days, turning and shaking jar gently every few days. Strain and filter.
3. Boil the water and sugar together until sugar dissolves. Set aside and let cool. Add sugar syrup to orange mixture. Mature for three to four weeks.
Makes 4 cups.
Yield: 2 quarts
- 3 cups sugar
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1/4 cup instant espresso powder
- 3 1/4 cups vodka
1 large vanilla bean, split open and cut crosswise into small pieces
1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar with 1 cup of the boiling water. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 10 minutes, or until a thin syrup forms. Remove from the heat and set aside until the mixture is cool to lukewarm.
2. In a heatproof bowl, combine the espresso powder with the remaining 1 cup of boiling water. Stir until powder is completely dissolved.
3. In a glass container, combine the vodka with the lukewarm sugar syrup, coffee mixture and vanilla beans. Cover and set aside for flavors to infuse for 3 weeks.
4. Pour liqueur into two 1-quart bottles, cap and store in a cool, dark place.