This is a variant of the recipe for almond liqueur. The steps are identical up to the point where the clarified spirits are to be sweetened and blended. In this case, instead of sweetening with 100% standard sugar syrup, you will prepare a blending stock of 2 parts standard caramel syrup plus 1 part standard sugar syrup and sweeten the clarified, infused spirits with this combination of syrups.
Homemade almond liqueur is very easy to make and is an ideal liqueur for beginners. The caramel flavor goes well with almonds and it makes an unusually good variety.
Make sure to use raw almonds. Be careful not to buy them roasted or salted. Raw almonds are readily available from Costco or Trader Joes (in Southern California). Most health food stores should carry them.
Use a good quality vodka. It does not have to be expensive, but don’t use such a cheap brand that it will cause your liqueur to have a harsh or bitter taste. Cheap brands of vodka contain impurities (congeners) that are impossible to mask with sugar.
Almond Caramel Liqueur Recipe
Step One Ingredients:
- 1 1/2 cups chopped raw almonds (not roasted or salted)
- 6 cups vodka (80 proof)
- A 3" piece of cinnamon stick
- 1/2 cup sugar
Step One Directions:
- Combine ingredients in a 1/2 Gal. Mason jar and shake thoroughly.
- Macerate for 4 weeks. Shake the jar periodically to mix the ingredients.
- Do not shake the jar during the final week. Let it settle to make it easy to rack off the clarified part.
Step Two Ingredients:
Step Two Directions:
- After 4 weeks, carefully rack off the clarified part with metal coffee filter, then strain the sludgy part through a kitchen strainer into a separate jar.
- Allow to settle for several weeks, periodically racking off the clarified spirits from each jar. Allow the sludgy part to separate and rack off the clarified part a little at a time through the metal coffee filter into the other jar. Continue to the next step only after the infused spirits are completely clarified.
- Make a blending stock consisting of:
- 2 parts standard caramel syrup
- 1 part standard sugar syrup
- Blend according to the following proportions:
- 2 cups clarified infused spirits
- 1 cup blending stock
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Makes about 6 cups
Step One: Infusion
Below is a shot of the ingredients you will need. Starting from the top and going left to right: vodka, raw almonds, granulated sugar, cinnamon sticks, measuring cups. I was able to obtain a bag of cinamon stocks in 1-inch pieces from Herb Products Co, but you can find cinnamon sticks in the spice section of most supermarkets.
Measure out 1 1/2 cups of almonds then grind them up in a coffee grinder. Take care not to grind them too much. If the almonds are too powdery, then it will be difficult to clarify. Don’t try to grind them all at once. The metal cup in the grinder will only hold so much at a time.
Here is a shot of the ground almonds being poured out of the grinder. Pour off the ground almonds and repeat until all the almonds are ground up. After grinding the almonds, use the coffee grinder to grind up the cinnamon sticks.
Add the ground almonds and cinnamon to the 1/2 gal Mason jar, then add 1/2 cup of sugar.
The last step is to add 6 cups of vodka.
Close the lid tightly, then shake all the ingredients to thoroughly mix them together.
Now, set the jar aside and let it macerate for 4 weeks. Every few days, shake the jar up again to keep the ingredients mixed. Do not shake the jar during the last week to allow it to settle and make it easy to rack off the clarified part.