Every summer I “put up” as much summer fruit as I can. And by “put up” I mean lots of freezer or regular jam, a bunch of fruit in the freezer, and boozy fruit and liqueur. It’s a great way to enjoy the flavor of summer fruit year round, in some quick and easy ways.
Since I already shared my recipe for freezer jam, I thought it was only right to do the same with my boozy fruit and liqueur. We can just call this post a virtual cocktail party, especially come winter.
Although these are both easy to make, how you make it depends on what you’re after. Do you want boozy fruit with a little liqueur to enjoy, or mostly liqueur with some boozy fruit leftover? I’m sharing how to make both.
For the liqueur, I did a combo of fresh sliced ripe apricots and dried. I filled a large Ikea jar about halfway to three quarters with the fruit (make sure the jar is very clean!), and then totally covered them with a decent vodka. The vodka is your choice here. Because I’m so sensitive to gluten, I have to use one that is made from corn. I don’t think you need ultra premium because you are mixing it with simple syrup, although it is entirely your call. I used Monopolowa. I thought one regular sized bottle would be enough, but the fruit absorbs a lot of the vodka, and so I added another half bottle. I covered the jar and set it aside on my kitchen counter for about 10 days. Make sure that the vodka is completely covering your fruit.
Once your fruit has sat for the week to week and a half, scoop the fruit out of the jar into a large clean canning jar. You may need to strain the vodka if there’s any fruit pulp in it. Strain the vodka into another large clean canning jar.
The in a large saucepan, combine 2 cups granulated sugar and 2 cups water. Whisk the mixture together until the sugar dissolves, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat as necessary so that it maintains a low simmer. Let simmer for 10 minutes. and remove from heat to cool.
Add as much of the simple as you like to sweeten the apricot vodka. I found that the syrup helped bring out the apricot flavor, but I didn’t want the liqueur to be cloyingly sweet. Add as much or as little of the syrup to taste. Keep your apricot liqueur in the refrigerator so that it doesn’t go bad.
For the jar of boozy apricots that you removed from the vodka, I like to drizzle a little of the leftover simple syrup over them, and then serve the boozy fruit over ice cream or add a couple pieces as a garnish in cocktails. Just make sure to keep your boozy fruit in the refrigerator.
Now for the boozy cherries aka cherry bombs:
This has been a tradition around our house for years. Some years we even make an extra large batch and share it with friends around the holidays. You can make it with most summer fruit, but bing cherries are exceptionally awesome.
It couldn’t be simpler to make, as you just dump everything together in a large (clean) crock. I used 3 pounds of firm bing cherries, 1 bottle of vodka (again, you don’t have to use a super premium here, as a middle of the road one will work fine) and granulated sugar (I used somewhere between 1/2 and 1 cup, but you can do this to taste). Mix together in a very clean crock and set aside in a cool place (not the refrigerator) for about a month or more. This will keep for a very long time, or until you eat all of the cherries (and drink the liqueur). I store the liqueur and cherries together in the crock in my refrigerator. Oh, and I keep the pits in my cherries. After a while they give the liqueur a lovely almond undertone which is fantastic.
Try the cherry bombs (infused cherries) over ice cream (with the pits removed of course) or blot them if any extra moisture and dip in melted chocolate.
Now go run and grab yourself some cherries and make a batch. I’m telling you that these are the bomb baby!