Saturday, July 31, 2010
When I was in high school, a friend of my father's introduced us to the previously-unknown world of Spanish cooking. She brought us paella and sangria, and strange as it may seem in these days of global cuisine, I don't think I'd even heard of them before. But of course, regardless of your level of familiarity, these foods are pretty easy to love.
After we enjoyed the feast (Exciting! Exotic!), there followed a few days of leftovers. A tupperware container of boozy fruit sat in the fridge, and I would pull it out after school. Now mind you, I was a seriously lightweight teenager. After a day or so, my mother figured out why I was giggling through the house, and cut me off. "Deena!" she admonished, "This is not a snack!"
I have a similar problem when it comes to this raspberry liqueur. It's so delicious, so sweet and full of deep berry flavor, that I just want to sip it all day. Which would have the unfortunate results of
a) depleting my raspberry liqueur stash
b) leave me ready for bed by around 7pm
And so, I have to constantly check myself. Deena, this is not a snack!
But oh, is it lovely. Like rhubarb liqueur, this is ridiculously easy to make. Easier, arguably: you don't even have to chop the fruit. Just give the berries a quick rinse, toss them in a jar with grain alcohol, and let sit for a few weeks. Strain, sweeten and dilute, and you're ready to go. When you're as busy as I am catching up on the local arts, you appreciate the ease. Perhaps someday I can find another (preferably non-boozy) snack I like half as well.
as with my rhubarb liqueur, this is more a loose template than a recipe, easily adapted to whatever quantity of raspberries you have
Rinse the raspberries and place them in a glass jar. Pour in enough grain alcohol to cover by a few inches, screw the lid on, and allow to steep 3-4 weeks. Over this time, the flavor and color will leach out of the raspberries, leaving the alcohol a deep ruby color, and the raspberries a weird ghostly pink.
When the raspberries have finished steeping, strain them from the alcohol, discard, and filter the solution through several layers of cheesecloth or, preferably, coffee filters. Measure the final amount of alcohol -- this is your base number. In a saucepan, heat 1.5 times that amount of water, and 1/4-1/2 that amount of sugar, depending on how sweet you like things (note that this is less sugar than required for the puckery rhubarb). To give an example: 4 cups raspberry alcohol would need 6 cups of water and 1-2 cups sugar. Let the sugar syrup cool, then add it to your filtered alcohol. Taste (the flavors will be a bit harsh), and add more sugar if desired. Let age for at least a month before enjoying. Raspberry liqueur keeps at any temperature, but is especially delicious straight from the freezer.