You can make Blackberry Liqueur at home very easily in about 2 weeks. I originally found a very good recipe for Blackberry Liqueur at Gunther Anderson’s website: (Vargas and Gulling Blackberry Liqueur). This is how I make it, though. The original recipe calls for 100 proof Vodka – which is normally a lot more expensive than common 80-proof Vodka. So I came up with this less expensive way to make it. The trick here is to macerate with 80-proof Vodka, then blend with a little 100-proof Vodka after straining and filtering.
Another big difference between my recipe and the Vargas and Gulling recipe is that I use Standard Sugar Syrup rather than light corn syrup. You can find Karo brand light corn syrup in most grocery stores, but I am not a fan of corn syrup. I prefer using cane sugar. It is more traditional, and I think it gives a better taste and it is less viscous. I have even seen other recipes in other websites that call for thickening homemade liqueurs with glycerin. I believe that sweetening with properly prepared sugar syrup makes a far superior final product.
Here is another tip: Save the blackberry strainings at Step 2 and put them in a jar and refrigerate. The strained leftovers can have a second life. They are very delicious and can be used to make pastries: Blackberry Liqueur Pie and Blackberry Liqueur Turnovers.
Here is my recipe for Blackberry Liqueur:
Step One Ingredients:
- 2 cups fresh or frozen blackberries (Important: If frozen berries are used, measure them while still frozen, because in a thawed state, they will shrink to about half the volume)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup 80-proof vodka
- 1 cup brandy
- 1 cup standard sugar syrup
- 1 tsp lemon zest (see lemon zester)
- 1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
Step One Directions:
- Put berries and sugar in 2 Qt. Mason jar, then crush berries with a wooden spoon, then let the mixture stand to allow juice to develop.
- After one hour add the vodka and brandy, then shake the mixture thoroughly until all the sugar is dissolved.
- Add the sugar syrup, then add the lemon juice and lemon zest.
- Macerate at room temperature for 2 weeks.
Step Two Ingredients:
- 100-proof vodka
Step Two Directions:
- Strain and filter.
- Blend with 100 proof vodka to taste – About 8 parts strained and filtered liqueur to 1 part 100 proof vodka.
- Use only very ripe, juicy berries. If berries are not ripe enough, then let them stand until as ripe and juicy as they can get. If the the macerated liqueur tastes a little sour, do not over-sweeten to kill sourness. Blending with 100 proof vodka at step two will help improve the taste.
- The macerated liqueur is about 20% ABV (.2 part alcohol to 1 part liqueur)
- If blended with 1 part 100 proof vodka to 8 parts strained and filtered liqueur, that will raise ABV to about 23 1/3% (1 x .5 plus 8 x .2 = 1.6 / 9 = .2333)
Below is a shot of of the most recent batch Blackberry Liqueur that I made. I bought 3 containers of some really nice looking fresh blackberries at Costco. I forgot how many ounces they were per container, but those 3 containers of blackberries made enough for 5 (count ‘em FIVE) 2 Qt. Mason jars!
I don’t recommend you make this much at a time, because it took the better part of a day just to strain and filter it all! The glass dishes in front of the jars hold the lemon zest. I used two fresh lemons for this batch. First, I zested the lemons, and then I cut them in half and squeezed them.
Here is another shot of the jars after adding the Vodka and Brandy and the lemon juice, lemon zest and Standard Sugar Syrup. They are all ready to begin maceration. Note the jar of Standard Sugar Syrup on the far right.
Now we wait for 2 weeks while the liqueur macerates. In the next post I’ll cover the filtering and straining step.