Unlike home-brewing or distilling, making liqueur doesn’t require specialist equipment or much space. In addition to sugar, spirits and some aromatics, all you need is a scale, measuring cups and spoons, a saucepan, funnel, fine-mesh strainer or muslin cloth, large glass jars, and some pretty bottles for the end product.
ONE BOTTLE VODKA THREE LIQUEURS…
Combine 150 g fresh blueberries and 75 g sugar in a jar. Muddle slightly to crush the berries, then seal and allow to macerate for 2 to 3 days in a cool spot in the kitchen, shaking the bottle now and then. Strain the berries through a fine- mesh sieve or muslin cloth (don’t force them through or the mixture will be cloudy), then combine with 1 cup vodka in a sterilised jar. Allow to infuse for a week, then strain once more into a sterilised bottle.
Tip: This method works with any type of berry and is a great way to use up berries that are starting to overripen.
Combine 1 cup tightly packed, washed fresh mint leaves (slightly wilted leaves are fine) and 1 cup vodka in a sterilised jar. Seal and shake a couple of times before storing for 1 to 2 days in a cool spot (the longer you leave the mixture, the more intense the mint flavour). Heat 100 g sugar and 1⁄2 cup water in a saucepan until the sugar has melted. Set aside to cool. Strain the mint vodka into a jar and add the cooled syrup. Add a few fresh mint sprigs and allow to infuse for another week. Strain into a sterilised bottle.
Tip: The natural colour of this liqueur is a yellowish green. Add a few drops of green food colouring for a more traditional-looking mint liqueur if you like.
Place 1 cup water, 200 g sugar and 40 g sliced fresh ginger in a saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the peel of 1⁄2 lemon. Allow to infuse until the syrup
has cooled. Strain the syrup into a sterilised jar, then add 1 cup vodka. Seal, shake to combine and allow the flavours to infuse for 2 to 3 days. Strain through a sieve into a sterilised bottle, adding another a strip of lemon peel, if you like.
Tip: This is also a great use for ginger peels that usually end up in the bin. Simply rinse and store in the freezer until you have the equivalent in weight, then proceed with the recipe.
BLUEBERRY LAVENDER FIZZ COCKTAIL
Combine 100 g sugar and 1⁄2 cup water in a saucepan and simmer until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat, add 3 sprigs rinsed lavender and allow to cool. Strain and refrigerate until needed. Fill a highball glass with ice, 1 tot blueberry liqueur and 1 tot lavender syrup, then top up with soda water. Garnish with extra lavender sprigs and fresh blueberries.