Friday, November 18, 2011

Whole Foods Friday: Cranberry Liqueur (aka Infused Booze)

For information about Whole Foods Friday, see the tab at the top.

I've been playing around with infusing different flavors into vodka and other alcohols. When I saw cranberries, I knew I had to make a cranberry infusion. It's so seasonal.

Up until now, I've been making liqueurs that are rather sweet. Not tooth-aching sweet, but on the dessert side.

This one is a little on the tart side. For one thing, there isn't as much sugar. And for another, cranberries are tart.

This is a more refreshing drink, and would be great over ice or with some fizzy soda. If you're looking for a sweet concoction, just add more sugar, either to the finished infusion, or add sugar, honey, or simple syrup when you make your drinks.

This gets better as it ages, so if you've got the time, you can leave it sit for a month before you strain it. If you're in a hurry, two weeks is good. If you can't wait, you can strain some off after a week and see what you think.

You'll need a fairly large jar to fit all these ingredients, and it should have a tight-fitting lid. I found these sweet 2-liter jars at Whole Foods.

Infused Booze: Cranberries and Cloves

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 12-ounce packages fresh cranberries
2 cloves
4 cups vodka

Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir as needed until the sugar dissolves. Add the cranberries and cloves. Cook, stirring as needed, until most of the cranberries have popped open. You don't need to cook them to mush, and they don't have to all be popped - just the majority of them.

Turn off the heat, let the mixture cool until it's cool enough to handle safely, then transfer it to a clean jar. Add the vodka, cover tightly, and shake it up a bit.

Leave the jar in a cool, dark(ish) place, and shake it every once in a while. I leave mine on my kitchen countertop, in a non-sunlit corner, and I shake it a couple times a day. Once a day is plenty, though.

After 2-4 weeks (you can taste it as it progresses) strain out the cranberries and transfer the liquid to a bottle for storage. If you want a very clear liquid, you can strain it through a coffee filter before bottling.

There's probably something interesting you can do with the cranberries, but keep in mind that they will have absorbed some alcohol - so don't serve whatever it is to the kids.

12 comments:

Nelly Rodriguez said...

I once got...mmhm, tipsy...by just eating infused booze fruit. Dangerous game that is ;)

Anonymous said...

Friday is my favorite day. I wonder why... -Craig

ilovecooking said...

This looking interesting. Can't wait to try it. I love cranberries!

Janice said...

Now this has really got me intersted. I prefer my drinks less sweet, so often avoid infused spirits and liqueurs. Great idea.

BigFatBaker said...

Omg so glad I have some extra cranberries laying around! I need to start this asap.
@Nelly..me too lol. Watermelon is really good soaked in vodka ;)

SeattleDee said...

I think a double batch is called for - to accommodate all of the taste-testing during the 2 to 4 weeks of steeping! The booze sounds great, but it's the cranberries that invite the imagination. What WILL you do with all of that tipsy fruit?

Donna Currie said...

SeattleDee, those cranberries need to find a good home, don't they? Maybe a drunken cranberry upside-down cake.

Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga said...

This looks great! Saw this on Tastespotting. Nice work :)

Baker Street said...

Holy yum! I think I'm going give this a try with blueberries.

Donna Currie said...

I wonder what color blueberries would make the liqueur. Sometimes they're more blue and sometimes more purple. Either way, it would look good, though!

Aubrey said...

This looks awesome! I love the pretty pink color of the final liquor!

Anonymous said...

Freeze the cranberries and use them to garnish your drink. Could work in other cocktails, too. I soak melon balls in vodka and then freeze them to use in drinks.

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