Almost every summer I spend a Saturday afternoon making a jug of homemade liqueur. The first one I tried was limoncello, a lemon aperitif with Italian roots. I tasted it in a restaurant in Jackson, WY when I was visiting my brother a few years ago. It was all over when he told me he had a recipe.
Besides being delicious, it's really easy if you are patient. You take some vodka, add lemon zest and wait. And wait. And wait some more. After 40 days you get to add more vodka and some simple syrup. And wait again. After another 40 days it will be done. Then you can bottle it up and share it with friends. It makes a fantastic hostess gift during the holidays. I recommend keeping at least a little for yourself. I keep mine in the freezer.
The limoncello was such a success that I decided to dig around and see what other liqueurs I could easily make at home. I ran across a recipe for framboise, which is raspberry flavored. The next year there was ratafia, made from brandy, oranges and coriander seeds.
This year I got a little carried away and made all three. It's not actually my fault though. There's a local produce store called Stanley's that has the most fantastic deals. When I went in on Saturday to pick up the lemons I needed for limoncello, they were practically giving away raspberries. I'm not kidding about the giving away....they were 2 half-pints for a dollar! Tell that to the folks at Whole Foods.
Lest you think that I've been drinking all the fruits of my labor...I do realize that there are four bottles in the picture. The fourth is a sweet blackberry wine. The blackberries were bargain priced too and I couldn't resist. It's a new recipe, I hope it's as good as the others!