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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Blackberry Liqueur

Sometimes, I really miss living in the Pacific Northwest. Growing up, I was very much an outdoor kind of gal. Considering how much time I spent engaging in activities that potentially could leave me stranded in the wilderness without much warning, I always felt it was a good idea to be prepared. That involved not only making sure I had a working "survival kit" with all the essentials when I was out in the high country, but I also made sure I had the requisite knowledge to feed myself if it came down to it. Fortunately, the northwest is bountiful! Some of the edibles are lesser known, but some are so prolific and in your face that they are part of the cultural psyche of any proper Pacific Northwesterner. I'm speaking, of course, of blackberries.

They not only grow wild there; they're freaking rampant. I miss all that free food! I have to buy blackberries here in Florida, and it makes me ill how much they go for. However, sometimes, it's worth it. This liqueur is so beautiful, fragrant, and satisfying. While I'm sure it would taste better with vine ripened berries from Washington, I've found I can make do with frozen berries from Wal-Mart.

The only bad thing about this recipe is that you have to be patient. This isn't one of those, "Hmmm, I think I'll make some blackberry liqueur for that party this weekend," kind of things. It needs time to steep. It needs time to mature. Ideally, you need to give it six months. I know that's asking a lot, but - trust me - it's worth it. This liqueur is as great to give as it is to enjoy. Whenever I use up some ingredient that comes in a nifty bottle, I clean it out and hang on to it so that I have something nice to decant my liqueur into when it's ready.

Blackberry Liqueur
Yield: approx. 4 cups

4 cups blackberries
zest of one lemon
2 whole cloves
2 cups vodka
1 cup brandy
1 cup sugar syrup (2:1 sugar to water)

Lightly crush the berries with a fork. If they are refrigerated or frozen, let them come to room temperature first. Using a vegetable peeler, zest one lemon. You can use a knife but be sure to remove any pith, which is bitter. In a large jar (I use a half-gallon canning jar), mix together the blackberries, lemon zest, cloves, vodka, and brandy. Place a lid on the jar and set in a cool, dark place for about three months.

After it has steeped, pour it through a strainer, then through a coffee filter (multiple times is better). Make a cup of sugar syrup and let it cool to room temperature. Add the sugar syrup to the liqueur until it is sweet enough to your taste. Mature in a cool, dark place for another 4-6 weeks. Decant into a pretty bottle. Store for up to one year.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing this....sounds yummy! :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. As a BC girl who grew up well out side the city limits, I can relate with this post. though I'm sad that I didn't find your blog before the blackberries were done for the year

    ReplyDelete

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