National Liqueur Day is October 16th. It’s never too early to begin thinking about the holidays, and Thanksgiving is—deep breath—just over a little over a month away. Many liqueurs/cordials are perfect to be sipped in the winter months so why not make some of your own and gift to others for the holidays or even make some for a holiday party.
The classic citrusy Italian liqueur limoncello, almond-flavored amaretto, and cocoa cream-flavored Irish cream are always crowd-pleasers and are great anytime.
Bartenders around the country are creating some delicious liqueurs, such as a chilled shot of basilcello as a palate cleanser between savory and sweet courses. This herbal concoction only takes 24 hours to steep and is great before or after dessert.
If licorice-flavored spirits like absinthe, ouzo or sambuca are more your style, whip up a batch of fennelcello created by bartender David Welch at the Lincoln Restaurant in Portland, Oregon and is a wonderful digestif served cold.
Or try producing another Italian favorite, Nocino. This spiced walnut liqueur from chef/mixologist Mariena Mercer of The Chandelier bar at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, calls for toasted walnuts along with spices you can buy at any supermarket. It does, however, need to infuse for a full month, so if you’re planning to make it for the holidays, you better start now. Also, try one of my favorites - Blood Orangecello or Orangecello. These liqueurs are best sipped cold and by themselves. If you want to get adventurous, try some of them with a good quality soda water...Check out the link at the end of the post for Liqueurs A-Z and my post from last year...Cheers! Michael
- 1 lb Fresh basil
- 1 tsp Citric acid
- 1 (750-mL) bottle 190-proof neutral grain spirit (such as Everclear)
- 1.5 L (about 50 oz) Simple syrup (one part sugar, one part water)
- 750 mL (about 25 oz) Water
Prep - Combine the basil, citric acid and neutral grain spirit in a large jar or other container. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 24 hours. Strain out the basil and stir in the simple syrup and water. Serve as cold as possible.
- 3 (750-mL) bottles Vodka
- 1.25 lb Fennel (stalks, fronds and leaves)
- 38 oz Simple syrup (one part sugar, one part water)
Prep - Combine the vodka and fennel in a large jar. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 days. Strain out all fennel particles and add the simple syrup. Serve chilled.
- 1 L Russian Standard Vodka
- 1 cup Maple syrup
- 1 cup Sugar
- 3 cups Toasted walnuts, crushed
- Zest of 2 oranges
- 6 Cinnamon sticks
- 8 Whole cloves
- 2 Green cardamom pods, crushed
- 2 Vanilla beans
- 4 Star anise pods
Prep - Combine all the ingredients in a large jar or other container with a lid. Cover and let stand for 1 month. Strain out the solids.
Orangecello or Blood Orangecello
- 7 medium navel oranges or blood oranges, preferably organic
- 1 (750ml) bottle vodka
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
Prep - Using a vegetable peeler, remove the peel from the oranges in long strips (reserve the oranges for another use). Using a small sharp knife, trim away the white pith from the orange peels; discard the pith. Put the orange peels in a 2-quart pitcher or large glass bowl. Pour the vodka over the peels and cover with plastic wrap. Steep the orange peels in the vodka for 4 days at room temperature.
In a medium saucepan, combine the water and sugar over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the syrup to cool, about 20 minutes. Pour the syrup over the vodka mixture. Cover and let stand at room temperature overnight. Strain the orangecello through a mesh strainer. Discard the peels. Transfer the orangecello to bottles. Seal the bottles and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours and up to 1 month.
My "National Liqueur Day" post from last year here
Learn your Liqueurs here