Blackberry Liqueur Recipe: Part 1

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:

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:

  1. 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.
  2. After one hour add the vodka and brandy, then shake the mixture thoroughly until all the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Add the sugar syrup, then add the lemon juice and lemon zest.
  4. Macerate at room temperature for 2 weeks.

Step Two Ingredients:

  • 100-proof vodka

Step Two Directions:

  1. Strain and filter.
  2. Blend with 100 proof vodka to taste – About 8 parts strained and filtered liqueur to 1 part 100 proof vodka.

Notes:

  • 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!

Note: Feb 24, 2008 – One year after I made this liqueur … I just bought some more of these delicious blackberries from Costco. They are sold in 18 oz. containers.

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.

Continue to Blackberry Liqueur Recipe – Part II

Comments

  1. benza11 says:

    Im doing something fairly similar with raspberries. i simply filled up a jar 3/4 of the way with raspberries and filled it with 80 proof vodka. I then plan to add the standard syrup to it to sweeten. The only thing I cannot decide since its the first time is what should the infused vodka taste like before I add the sweetener. How do I tell when a full infusion has been achieved? I know alot is to personal preference but does the sugar intensify the raspberry flavor? any help you could provide would be great. thanks

  2. Hi benza11 – raspberries should be fully infused the same time as blackberries (2 weeks). They are a little more sour than blackberries, though, so I would add just a little more sugar during infusion. Then you taste it afterwards and sweeten accordingly with the sugar syrup. The only caution is not to go too far with the sugar or sugar syrup or it will start to kill off the flavor. This is why I add the 100 proof vodka at the end. It tends to smooth out the sourness while maintaining the flavor.

  3. lasvegaslarissa says:

    I made the blackberry recipe last year, I gave most away. What I saved for me I put away. One year later I opened it up and we tried it, it was the bomb, smooth, rich flaver. The best yet! I’m going to do it again this year.

  4. Bob Johnson says:

    Mike: Can blueberries be substituted for blackberries?

  5. Bob Johnson says:

    Hi Mike:

    Lit off the blackberry recipe (I’m using fresh blue berries) We can’t purchase 100 proof vodka over here. Only 40% abv. What is your advice on this?

    • Mike Doughty says:

      Hi Bob – Okay … the 100 proof was only used to smooth out any sourness without over-sweetening. Get it? Before working this out I kept adding sugar syrup to kill the sourness, but that also killed a lot of the blackberry flavor. So, tinker with the blending a little bit at a time – adding a little sugar syrup and a little 40-proof – on a small tester amount to work out the ratio. After you work out satisfactory proportions, then you can scale it up for the rest of the batch. I hope this helps.

      • Bob Johnson says:

        Mike: Okay able to locate 100 proof vodka over here under a different name. It has been past 2 weeks. I am getting ready to filter but when and how much standard syrup should I put in?

        • Mike Doughty says:

          It all depends on how sweet or sour the liqueur is after maceration. The sugar syrup is mainly added at the start before the maceration. Now, depending on how sweet the infused spirit comes out, taste first. Even though the recipe calls for 1 part 100 proof to 8 parts infused spirit, I would start slower, maybe half that. You don’t want to raise the alcohol level too high at first because you can’t undo it. Taste and check to see before adding more and also check for sweetness. You can always add a little more sugar syrup. Just a tiny bit only if the berries weren’t sweet enough.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] de la Primera Sueca on a variant of this walk. Some of the blackberries are being turned into liquor, and I found this whilst fishing around for an unsuitable recipe: A very laughable story is told in [...]

  2. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Aba. Aba said: @themedgeek It's really easy to make! =) http://bit.ly/bd6rLy And probably not too expensive either [...]

  3. [...] them a bunch of times due to clumsiness and got stuck, causing an amusing allergic rash). We made blackberry liqueur from most of that effort and have guarded that stash like liquid [...]

  4. [...] Here is a recipe courtesy of homebrewunderground.com [...]

  5. [...] I decided to do a bit of canning as well.  I started with Blackberry Liqueur using this recipe.  The blackberries grow over the fence from my neighbor’s yard.   They are a huge [...]

  6. [...] from my picking day with Hannah. So I used them up in a batch of blackberry liqueur, from another Homebrew Underground recipe. This doesn’t need to macerate and steep for quite as long as the cherry cordials, but [...]

  7. […] out the blackberries ages ago but never made it all the way through the process. I’d used Homebrew Underground’s recipes for all of them (seriously, an amazingly detailed site), and the homemade Standard Sugar Syrup was […]

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