Homemade Liqueur Recipes

Much easier than making wine or brewing beer, homemade liqueurs put the garden to work.
In Praise Of Fraise

In Praise Of Fraise

Photo by: Excerpted from Homemade Liqueurs and Infused Spirits (c) by Andrew Schloss, photography by (c) Leigh Beisch Photography, used with permission from Storey Publishing.

Excerpted from Homemade Liqueurs and Infused Spirits (c) by Andrew Schloss, photography by (c) Leigh Beisch Photography, used with permission from Storey Publishing.

Schloss recommends sipping this strawberry liqueur or adding its fruity juice to a Cosmopolitan. 

If you have a bottle of liquor and a glass jar, you're ready to make homemade liqueurs. Andrew Schloss, author of Homemade Liqueurs and Infused Spirits: Innovative Flavor Combinations, Plus Homemade Versions of Kahlua, Cointreau and Other Popular Liqueurs says they're the perfect way to create unique flavors not available from a store. 

They also make great gifts, but the best thing about homemade liqueurs is that they're another great way to use the best of the garden. "The oldest and most traditional recipes for liqueurs combine dozens of botanicals to create truly complex, multi-layered flavors," he says. "Having a broad selection of herbs, vegetables and fruits provides you with a bigger palette for creation." 

And it's easier than you think: "Making wine and beer requires fermentation with yeasts that call for special equipment and lots of time," Schloss says. "Liqueur making is just a matter of adding flavorful ingredients to already distilled spirits and waiting until the flavor is to your liking." 

Here are a few recipes from his book that make the best of the summer season: 

In Praise of Fraise

Schloss says this strawberry liqueur is "perfect for sipping on a summer day, for spiking a Cosmo, for dabbing behind each ear." 

Makes about 1 quart

  • 2 pints strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1 ½ cups simple syrup*
  • 1 fifth (or 3 ¼ cups) 80-100 proof vodka

Simple Syrup

Makes 3 cups

  • 2 ¼ cups water
  • 2 ¼ cups granulated cane sugar

Mix the water and sugar in a small saucepan until the sugar is all moistened. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir to make sure the sugar is complexly dissolved, then remove from the heat and let cool. Refrigerate for up to 3 months. 

Muddle the strawberries and simple syrup with a wooden spoon in a half-gallon jar. Stir in the vodka. 

Seal the jar and put it in a cool, dark cabinet until the liquid smells and tastes strongly of strawberries, about 7 days. 

Strain the mixture with a mesh strainer into a clean quart jar. Do not push on the solids to extract more liquid. 

Seal and store in a cool, dark cabinet. Use within 1 year. 

Garden Mint

Garden Mint Liqueur

Garden Mint Liqueur

Photo by: Excerpted from Homemade Liqueurs and Infused Spirits (c) by Andrew Schloss, photography by (c) Leigh Beisch Photography, used with permission from Storey Publishing.

Excerpted from Homemade Liqueurs and Infused Spirits (c) by Andrew Schloss, photography by (c) Leigh Beisch Photography, used with permission from Storey Publishing.

"In liqueurs, mint can taste candied," Schloss says. "Tying it to the bright crispness of cucumber eliminates any candy connection." 

"Mint is the veritable flavor of fresh," Schloss writes in Homemade Liqueurs and Infused Spirits. "One would think that you couldn't get fresher than mint-scented liqueur, but pairing mint with cucumber raises the freshness ante exponentially." Use this to brighten up those Bloody Mary brunches.  

Makes about 1 quart

  • 1 ½ cups 80-100 proof vodka
  • 1 ½ cups dry vermouth
  • 2 medium English cucumbers, shredded
  • ½ cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 cup simple syrup (see above recipe)

Combine the vodka, vermouth, cucumbers, mint and lemon zest in a half gallon jar. Stir to moisten everything. Seal the jar and put it in a cool, dark cabinet until the liquid smells and tastes strongly of mint, 3-5 days. 

Strain the mixture with a mesh strainer into a clean quart jar. Do not push on the solids to extract more liquid. 

Stir in the simple syrup. 

Seal and store in a cool, dark cabinet. Use within 1 year. 

Next Up

Homemade Chai Tea Recipe

Use homegrown herbs in the chai tea so nice they named it twice.

A Walking Dead Cocktail Recipe

This herb, watermelon and rhubarb-infused cocktail is a tribute to the zombie TV sensation "The Walking Dead."

Spiked Eggnog Recipe

Eggnog from scratch is easier than you think.

Beet Cocktail Recipe

Ever thought of combining beets, goat cheese and vodka? Try a unique flavor pairing with this cocktail recipe from Asheville restaurant Posana.

Garden-Fresh Cocktail Recipes

Quench your thirst with punches, pops and other beverages made with ingredients from your garden.

A Refined British Cocktail Recipe

Strawberries and basil translate to a garden-fresh sensation in this sophisticated cocktail.

A Fennel-Based Cocktail Recipe

This garden-fresh take on the classic rickey cocktail can be made in single servings or in bulk for a spirited punch.

Grilled Peach Old Fashioned Recipe

Put a seasonal spin on this classic cocktail with the addition of peaches.

Botanical Punch Recipes

Put that mint and rosemary to work in these fruity punches, perfect for holiday entertaining.

Pineapple Mojito Recipe

Drink in the tropical flavors of pineapple and coconut and your fresh garden mint in this flavor-packed cocktail.