Homemade Blueberry Liqueur
Originally Posted September 9, 2011. Updated 12/5/2020.
One one hand... I really hate the commercialization of certain holidays, and how THAT results in stuff like Halloween display... in August.
Christmas displays in September.
It gets earlier and earlier every year.
Also, really... The holiday season stresses me out. It means doing my grocery shopping at 5 am, to avoid the crowds and horrible bell-ringer-induced headaches.
People body checking each other in order to get the perfect gift or the last box of cocoa on the shelf. Just.. yeah. I digress...
On the other hand...
I Love Giving Handmade Gifts!
There's something really satisfying about putting the finishing touches on the presentation of your own handiwork, and seeing the joy on the recipients' face.
It's something personal small-batch, unique, and... not pulled off a shelf at the last minute. You know. Special.
Thing is, a lot of hand made gifts require planning ahead.
It does no one any good for me to give Christmas gift ideas in December, when they take 3 months to make.
So.. I'm sorry. I know it's the beginning of September, and I hate thinking "Holiday" this early just as much as anyone.
In the interest of helping you give some awesome gifts this year, however, I'm going to write a few blog entries on homemade holiday gifts. Now.
Some will take only a couple weeks to make, others may take a couple months of wait time.
Many are ingredient dependent, and best to start NOW.
Homemade Liqueur as a Gift Idea
What's the point of posting a recipe for fresh blueberry liqueur in mid December, for instance? Also, most liqueurs taste better (smoother) with a bit of aging.
So, let's talk liqueur making.
Homemade Blueberry Liqueur makes an awesome gift, especially when it makes use of seasonally available produce, herbs, etc. On a cold December night, is anything better than getting a whiff or a sip of summers' bounty?
Just bottle it in a wine bottle - or another style of beautiful glass bottle (Thrift stores usually have some great options!), maybe tie a bow around it, and you’re done!
It's an imported sweet wild strawberry liqueur. Tasty in its own right, but what makes it really special - and pretty - is all of the little wild strawberries floating at the top of each bottle!
As much as we love Fragoli, one of my first thoughts was "Hrm... this would be FABULOUS as a blueberry liqueur!". And.. here we are.
Oh, it's delicious!
Homemade Blueberry Liqueur
This recipe makes about 6 cups of finished liqueur, perfect to bottle in either 2 750 ml bottles, or 4 375 ml bottles. To bottle it as pictured - "Fragoli-style":
- The day before bottling, soak a pint of fresh blueberries in vodka overnight. Remove any smashed or mushy blueberries before covering with vodka. Refrigerate.
- Immediately before bottling, strain the blueberries. Carefully add the smaller berries to the clean bottles BEFORE bottling the liqueur.
- Pour liqueur over the berries, leaving only an inch or so of head room. Cap as desired.
Homemade Berry Liqueur Variations
This recipe, as-is, produces a clean, clear, pure blueberry flavour.
It’s great to drink just as it is, but it can also be a great springboard for more complex flavours. A few ideas:
Swap out the Berries
As previously mentioned, this was inspired by a similar liqueur, only strawberry based.
The techniques here work for basically any kind of berry you can think of. You can make homemade raspberry liqueur, blackberry liqueur, blackcurrant liqueur (SO good!), and more!
One word of caution, though: If you’re looking to bottle with fresh berries, “Fragoli” style? I’d recommend sticking to blueberries, currants, and tiny, whole wild strawberries.
Raspberries, Blackberries, etc don’t hold up well to being bottled the same way - they’re too fragile.
Swap out the Vodka
While vodka is best for a good neutral base, you can use any spirit you like - just know that the flavour of it will impact the final flavour.
Rum, brandy, whiskey, etc are all great options for making liqueur.
Also note: swapping part of the vodka out for a different spirit is always an option for a milder flavour.
You might do something like ⅔ vodka, ⅓ brandy, ½ and ½ vodka / rum, etc.
Swap out the Sugar
While we use plain white granulated sugar for the base recipe, you can definitely swap out all or part of that white sugar, for a more complex taste.
Using brown sugar for all or part of the sugar makes it taste almost like a baked good.
You can use honey or maple syrup for a more complex sweetness.
When swapping out the sugar, use the same measurement of the desired sweetener, UNLESS you’re using a sugar-free alternative. With those, I suggest starting out at ½ the amount of sugar called for, and adjust from there.
Note: due to the nature of sugar-free alternatives, your liqueur will have a thinner consistency than a traditional liqueur.
There are so many things you can add to the initial infusion that will boost the flavour of the final liqueur - have some fun with it!
A few suggestions:
- A vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
- A cinnamon stick
- Citrus zest. I love orange or lemon with blueberries!
- Dried culinary lavender. This is potent, so just add 1 Tbsp or so, to start.
Blueberry Cream Liqueur
Rather than making the simple syrup as described, heat together 2 cans of sweetened condensed milk with 1 can (as a measure) of water.
Whisk together until smooth and well combined, cool to room temperature, and use in place of the simple syrup.
Mix and Match!
All of these variations are great by themselves, or can be combined.
A few examples:
- A vanilla bean and a cinnamon stick together, as kind of a blueberry pie flavour. I like doing this with brown sugar as half the sugar, or honey for all of the sugar.
- Strawberry, a small amount of lemon or orange zest, a vanilla bean, and cream liqueur finish tastes like strawberry shortcake.
- Tequila cream liqueur! You know the “Baja Rosa”, “Baja Luna”, etc? Just make this liqueur with tequila and your choice of berry, and finish it off with the cream option.
... really, the possibilities are almost endless. Have fun with it!
If you enjoy making and/or cooking with liqueur, you should check out my first cookbook, The Spirited Baker. It’s FULL of fun, tasty recipes using spirits and liqueurs for flavour!
Combining liqueurs with more traditional baking ingredients can yield spectacular results.Try Mango Mojito Upside Down Cake, Candy Apple Flan, Jalapeno Beer Peanut Brittle, Lynchburg Lemonade Cupcakes, Pina Colada Rum Cake, Strawberry Daiquiri Chiffon Pie, and so much more.
To further add to your creative possibilities, the first chapter teaches how to infuse spirits to make both basic and cream liqueurs, as well as home made flavor extracts! This book contains over 160 easy to make recipes, with variation suggestions to help create hundreds more!
More Homemade Liqueur Recipes
Liqueur is a fun project, tasty to drink, and great to give as gifts. Looking for more ideas? Here you go!
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Also, be sure to subscribe to my free monthly email newsletter, so you never miss out on any of my nonsense.
Well, the published nonsense, anyway!
Anyway, on to that recipe!
Homemade Blueberry Liqueur
- 3 Cups Vodka*
- 1 Pint Fresh Blueberries
- 2 Cups Granulated Sugar
- 2 Cups Water
- Blitz vodka and blueberries together in a blender until blueberries are pretty well disintegrated.
- Pour mixture into one large clean Mason jar, or divide among 2 medium sized jars, capping the jar(s) tightly. Give the jar(s) a quick shake once a day or so for 2 weeks.
- At the two week point, taste for doneness. If your infusion lacks flavor even after steeping for a couple of weeks,just add some more blueberries (pureed), and continue infusing until it’s just right!
- Once desired flavor strength is achieved:Strain spirit through a fine mesh strainer & discard the fruit. For a more clarified drink, strain the smaller bits out by running the infusion through a coffee filter – or two. Be patient, the effort is worth it!
Simple Syrup and Assembly
- Combine sugar and water in a saucepan. Heat to boiling, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and cool before using.
- Stir about 1 ½ cups of the syrup into the strained infusion. Once fully combined, taste. Adjust ingredients for desired sweetness – I like doing a 1:1 ratio of syrup to infused vodka. Once you are happy with the sweetness, carefully pour your liqueur into a clean bottle.
- After bottling, you should let it age for about a week in a cool, dark place before drinking it – IF you have that kind of patience! Aging results in a smoother, more mellow flavor.