Christmas/Winter liqueur

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Christmas/Winter liqueur

Postby GeorgeSalt » Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:30 am

I've been researching liqueur recipes for a while now and collating what I find. I now fancy making a Christmas/Winter Liqueur as there's still a couple of months for something to mature (although I fully expect anything I make to be better next year rather than this year).

I've found some very similar recpipes and thought I'd throw this open for suggestions..

Recipe 1
70 cl brandy
20 cl water
150 g brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
120 g dried figs
120 g dried apricots
120 g dried apple or apple rings
50 g raisins
½ vanilla pod
½ stick of cinnamon
3 cloves
3 red peppercorns
1 cardamom pod


Recipe 2
70 cl brandy
125 g brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
125 g dried figs
60 g seeded dates
125 g prunes
50 g raisins
1 vanilla pod
1 cinnamon stick
3 cloves
5 peppercorns
1 pinch cardamom
½ teaspoon powdered ginger


There's a lot of published variations on the second recipe, but these are mostly very slight variations in the quantities of dried fruit, with/without peppercorns, with/without ginger powder, sometimes half and sometimes a whole vanilla pod or cinnamon stick..

The general method is similar. Steep the dried fruit in the brandy for 3 days. Lightly crack the spices with a pestle (or rolling pin or brick). Add the sugar, spices and honey and leave for 6-weeks before straining and bottling. The first recipe dissolves the sugar into the water to be added as a syrup. Or you just throw it all in together at the start and leave for 4-6 weeks. Or you do very complicated timings with adding and removing vanilla pods, cloves, etc.

I'm favouring Recipe 1 at the moment. Does anyone else have any suggestions, ideas or favourite Christmas/Winter Liqueur recipes?

And suggestions for the leftover dried fruits after the brandy has been drained off? (and the peppercorns, etc carefully picked out). A boozy crumble or a fruit cake are my best ideas so far - there's going to be about a pound of fruit once it's hydrated a bit..
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Re: Christmas/Winter liqueur

Postby becks77 » Fri Oct 12, 2012 7:57 am

nom nom :drunken: sounds delicious
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Re: Christmas/Winter liqueur

Postby contadina » Fri Oct 12, 2012 9:12 am

I might give those a try.

As my day's of tucking into a fine post-Christmas lunch port are over, we've been enjoying ciliegie di spiritos santos (cherries of the holy ghost) instead. To make, prick fresh cherries, cover in sugar, either alcool puro or grappa and water, shake when you remember and it's ready to drink after a couple of months. Lovely cherry flavour and it makes for a very fine bottle of giggle juice, especially the cherries, which taste vile by this stage, but make everyone bomb about like loons for around 10-mins.
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Re: Christmas/Winter liqueur

Postby GeorgeSalt » Fri Oct 12, 2012 10:19 am

I've just started a batch using Recipe 1.. I've gone a little over with the fruit rather than under the quantities, and substituted sultanas for the raisins because that's what fell out of the cupboard. I'll leave the fruit steeping in the brandy for 3-4 days and then add the spices and sugar. When it comes time for the spices I'll probably use a 1/4-teaspoon of vanilla paste in place of the vanilla beans (because I have some to hand).

If anyone does want a liqueur recipe to try.. I am trying to collate a collection of recipes, and I have several "found" recipes that need testing.. ..
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Re: Christmas/Winter liqueur

Postby GeorgeSalt » Thu Nov 08, 2012 2:47 pm

I went with recipe 1, so I now have quite a bit of dried fruit steeping in spiced brandy and I'm starting to think about what to do with it in a couple of weeks time once it's had a full six weeks steeping.

I'll have..
120 g dried figs
120 g dried apricots
120 g dried apple chunks
50 g sultanas

All rather plump, overweight and boozy.

I've found a Recipe from HFH (link) that's reasonably close to the right fruit mix and quantities, and probably wouldn't need the ground spice mix it calls for given the spices in the brandy.

Has anyone else got a recipe they could suggest to use the boozy fruit with?
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Re: Christmas/Winter liqueur

Postby Maykal » Thu Nov 08, 2012 4:09 pm

I'm sure they'd go nicely into a christmas pud. If you did it next week, you can seal it up and let it mature for a month ready for the xmas table.

I made some ginger wine which I'm hoping might resemble something drinkable by xmas. I racked it over last week and it smells ok but is still pretty cloudy. I might try cold crashing it in a month's time (might be cold enough just to put out on the balcony by them, or take it up to the house and just leave it in the shed for a couple of nights) or if not I might have to resort to bentonite (or just give it a few more months and call it a summer drink...
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Re: Christmas/Winter liqueur

Postby GeorgeSalt » Thu Nov 08, 2012 4:53 pm

Christmas pud.. that's an idea..

If you want a quick ginger drink for Christmas as a just-in-case standby try the dark Ginger liqueur recipe I posted a couple of weeks ago (link). It's not overly strong (closer to a fortified wine than a typical liqueur), and drinkable immediately. You could probably add a stick of cinnamon for an extra-Christmassy touch.
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Re: Christmas/Winter liqueur

Postby Maykal » Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:21 pm

Looks like a good one, thanks. I'll give it a go. How's it tasting now it's had a couple of weeks maturation?
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Re: Christmas/Winter liqueur

Postby berry » Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:28 pm

left over fruit.. a lady I was picking sloes with suggested mashing fruit up (removing stones carefully) and making chocolate liquers with it using chocolate molds. she also suggested mixing the mashed fruit into a truffle mix but ive not tried that one.
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Re: Christmas/Winter liqueur

Postby GeorgeSalt » Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:45 pm

Maykal wrote:Looks like a good one, thanks. I'll give it a go. How's it tasting now it's had a couple of weeks maturation?

It smells really good (the winter version).. I've just had a sneakly teaspoon to taste, very smooth, hints of Christmas.

The dark ginger is absolutely gorgeous.
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Re: Christmas/Winter liqueur

Postby marshlander » Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:53 pm

berry wrote:left over fruit.. a lady I was picking sloes with suggested mashing fruit up (removing stones carefully) and making chocolate liquers with it using chocolate molds. she also suggested mixing the mashed fruit into a truffle mix but ive not tried that one.


I can imagine the cherries from cherry brandy dipped in plain chocolate would be scrummy.

The fruit that has been strained from the alcohol is great added to apples when making jelly eg sloe gin jelly or damson vodka jelly. I also add some of the liqueur before putting in the jam jars.

Fig Whisky recipe:
std 70 cl bottle of Whisky
the thinly pared rind of an orange
6 cloves
100g soft brown sugar
150g dried figs

Place all ingredients in a kilner type jar (sterlized, of course), store in a dark, cool place. Turn every day until the sugar is dissolved, leave for a month minimum. Bottle and enjoy :drunken:
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Re: Christmas/Winter liqueur

Postby GeorgeSalt » Sun Nov 25, 2012 1:04 pm

It's had five weeks.. now strained and the liqueur in a temporary bottle to see if any sediment settlles out, and to give me time to sort out a more festive bottle.

All the fruit (minus the spices, which I picked out) has gone into a fruit cake, currently baking.. the first slice of cake may requrie coffee and a wee nip of the liqueur - purely for quality control and a sweetness check, you understand.. ;)
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Re: Christmas/Winter liqueur

Postby GeorgeSalt » Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:00 pm

The cake recipe..

225 g self-raising flour
200 g butter
200 g muscavado suger
4 eggs
The fruit from the liqueur


Grease a 20 cm springform cake tin. Preheat oven to 160C/Gas 3.
Roughly chop the fruit.
Cream together the sugar and butter.
Beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a spoon of flour with each.
Fold in the remaining flour, and then fold in the chopped fruit. Keep it light and don't overmix.
Spoon into the cake tin, place into preheated oven and bake for 1.5 hrs or until a knife/skewer comes out clean. You may need to cover the top of the cake part-way through to prevent it burning.
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