Homemade Liqueurs

Add some fruit, flowers, herbs or spices to vodka and you’ve got fruit liqueur (or schnapps)!

Crab apples make a delicious tipple, which you don’t even have to sweeten. There are still some hardy varieties of crab apples on the trees, so grab some and make a batch. If you make it now, it will be ready for sharing and gifting at Christmas.

Nocino and crabapple schnaps

My nocino and crabapple schnapps in old cognac bottles.

Crab Apple Schnapps

The crab apple schnapps couldn’t be easier and is truly delightful. All you need to do is fill a large jar with cut fruit and then cover with vodka. I quartered 34 crab apples, put them into a big glass jar (1000ml) with a tight-fitting lid (two-piece canning lid) and then filled it with vodka. Use inexpensive vodka when infusing it with fruits and/or herbs. The quality of the vodka doesn’t matter one smidge if you’re adding sugar. Trust the Urban Huntress. It’s a waste of money. If you think you won’t be adding any sugar, then it may be worth getting a vodka that is a little bit smoother. Maybe.

Urban Huntress Tip: if possible buy your vodka across the border in the US. The sales tax is quite high in Washington, but it’s still hellsa cheap compared to up here. You just have to stay 48 hours and you can bring back 1.14 L per person of hard liquor (so go with a friend). You can now buy hard liquor at Safeway which means “club card discount”! Just include your area code when giving your phone number. I bought 1.75 L of cheap ass vodka called 3 Star at Safeway for $23.46 including tax ($13.99 before tax) on one trip, and 1.75 L of a deliciously smooth Norwegian potato vodka called Vikingfjord for $30.03 including tax on another. The Vikingfjord is a delicious high quality vodka which just happened to be massively discounted; that’s the sort of thing to keep an eye out for in the US – It doesn’t happen here in BC because the prices are standardized. You can also buy 75% alcohol Everclear which is an herbalist’s and liqueur maker’s best friend because of the high alcohol content (it sucks the volatile oils and other goodies out really efficiently); just dilute with water to bring it down to desired alcohol content (and sweeten to taste) for the finished product.

Scnapps day 1Schnapps day 3

These are photos of day 1 and day 3 of my first batch of crab apple schnapps. It doesn’t take long for the apple colour and flavour to be pulled out by the alcohol. Let it sit for about a month before straining out the fruit (use a few layers of cheese cloth in a strainer). I like to leave it a week after the fruit sinks to the bottom. You can also just taste it regularly and declare it done when you like how it tastes. At that point you can add some simple syrup (made with sugar or honey) to sweeten as desired. If you add sweetener, let it sit at least a couple more days (agitating the jar occasionally) before bottling it for friends. If you want to make sure it’s crystal clear, strain the liquid through a coffee filter.

Urban Huntress Tip: The fruit you strain out will be saturated with vodka. You can eat them for a quick way to drunk town,…or you can squeeze the fruit in its cheese cloth into a separate container for a small batch of unclear liqueur,…or you can cook them with some water and pour through a sieve for a boozy desert sauce,…or you can make crab apple candies by cooking them in a thick syrup for 10 minutes (or until slightly translucent); You can eat some right away with cream/yogourt/ice cream, but if you let them saturate in the syrup overnight they only get better.

Check out this site for tips on adjusting the flavour and other infused booze ideas: http://www.danish-schnapps-recipes.com/crabapple.html

If the crab apples you find have tons of seeds, remove a good portion of them. They can impart a bitter flavour to the vodka.

Check out my crab apple post for other suggestions on what to do with crab apples.

Nocino

Green walnuts can be used to make nocino, an amazing, dark brown, spiced liqueur which is delicious and truly unique. But, you’ll have to wait until the end of June to make a batch. I’ll do a post about green (black) walnuts, and the wonderful things you can do with them, next year.