Monday, February 15, 2016

Mis-adventures in liqueur

For those who may have followed my Adventures with Alcohol back in October, I was buying Everclear to turn my bumper crop of raspberries into raspberry liqueur. I was supposed to let the alcohol and the berries sit for 2-4 weeks. So they sat. And sat. Four months later, I was finally ready to tackle The Project.

First I had to get the jar open. That required Tim. I think the lid was fused to the jar. It’s no longer usable as a lid.

Then I had to smoosh the berries and squeeze them through cheesecloth. I squeezed and squeezed. Getting every last drop out of those liquored-up berries was a real bicep workout. Not to mention my indelibly purple-juiced fingers (which defied any sort of scrubbing). I look like a car mechanic with lots of bruises or else like I voted many, many times in Third World elections.
The squeezed-out blobs look pretty gross, but they actually taste pretty good. So I checked with my culinary friend Judith to see if I could use the blobs for something. Not really blobs, more like lumps of coal. She suggested muffins, advising me to use them like nuts or blueberries, just crumbling them in. A project for another day….

So now I had this big bowl of liquored-up raspberry juice. Next step was to filter it through coffee filters. I put one in a funnel and started the process.



How do coffee drinkers do it? I’ve neither tasted coffee (yes, I know, really odd) nor made it, but this was ridiculous. We’d leave the house and come back while it was still working on a funnel load. Finally, after about 18 hours, I was done with that part and my juice was nice and rosy clear. I had to measure the amount – 11 cups – so I would know how much sugar water to add.

I had been working off three recipes because they all had something I liked. One said I should add enough sugar water to equal 1.5 times the amount of liquor juice. So that meant about 15 cups of sugar water.

Sugar water cooled and added.

Uh, oh. The whole thing tasted like plain old raspberry juice. For comparison, I tasted some of my friend Jody’s delicious limoncello; the second it hits my lips, I’m loopy. I re-checked my recipes. Oh, no! One recipe called for 1.5 times liquor to sugar water, the other goes practically one-to-one. From the recipe I used, I have made Kool-Aid.

Judith has told me that she uses vodka in her liqueurs. So I head to the closet with all the old liquor bottles in it. Miraculously, there’s an unopened bottle of Attakiska Alaskan Vodka. I’m pretty sure I got it as a door prize at some event in the 1980s, but according to Google, it’s practically an heirloom.

I pour some in. I taste. I add some more. I taste. I add some more. I can’t tell if I’m loopy from tasting or if my liqueur is finally just right, but eventually, I stop adding. I’m pretty sure I’ve got it right. I meticulously fill 24 little bottles with liqueur. Things are getting pretty sticky, but finally, I have an army of red-filled bottles. Next I’ll make pretty labels, then I’ll give gifts. Look at me: I’m a crafty person, a maker of homemade goods, a DIY-er, a super homemaker! I am beyond proud of myself.

The recipe says my liqueur is “especially delicious straight from the freezer” so I pop a bottle in the freezer.

It freezes solid.

I’m pretty sure that means it’s not alcoholic enough. This is too depressing. I think I have to buy more vodka, empty all those cute little bottles, and re-do.

I think this is how people feel when they say they need a drink.


  1. Nah, just give it away as it is and let the recipients add whatever they want. Some of us would very much enjoy home-made Kool-Aid with a kick!

  2. Argh! I forgot to bring some bottles to NY...

  3. Do you still have the Attakiska bottle?

    1. Oh, no! I bet you have a good reason for asking this, and I went ahead and recycled it. That's the problem with de-cluttering.... I bet that bottle is some sort of Alaskana memorabilia, huh?

    2. Yeah, we are looking for one for an upcoming exhibition here at the Anchorage museum, I'll keep looking thanks


Sharing Button