Thursday, November 14, 2013

Boozy Berries

A few months back, I had some fresh berries and no plans. I didn't want to make jam. We had already eaten handfulls fresh. There was no room in the freezer. It was too hot to bake. I don't mean to complain. An abundance of berries is never a bad thing.

Have you heard of bachelor's jam? Apparently, in olden times, men couldn't use a stove to make their own fruit preserves, so they covered in-season fruit with booze and called it good. There are some lovely recipes for fruity alcohols in Diana Henry's Salt Sugar Smoke (affiliate link) and a great tutorial from Erica at Northwest Edible Life.

With these ideas swirling in my head, one hot summer night my husband and I pulled some liquor from the cabinet, the berries from the fridge, some clean glass jars, and set to work. It's fun and simple to make boozy berries. You don't even need a recipe. Just fill the jars with ripe, clean berries, add a high-proof alcohol until the jar is about 3/4 full, then add herbal or fruity liqueur to top it off.

We made three jars:
Raspberry and blueberry vodka
Blackberries with spiced rum
Blueberries with vodka and St. Germain

Seal the jars and leave them in a cool dark place until the holidays.

I found our boozy berries in the pantry the other day. They are delicious. And they pack quite a kick. The blackberries and raspberries didn't hold up in the alcohol very well, so I strained them out. To a clean jar, I added the berry liqueur and a small amount super-fine baker's sugar (affiliate link) to taste.

The blueberries are still lovely. They look just as good as the day I drowned them in booze. That jar needed only a bit of sugar and a gentle shake to combine. We are enjoying our homemade berry liqueur in a cocktail with sparkling wine, a few of the soaked blueberries, and a twist. It will be excellent stirred into holiday punch, a hot toddy, wassail, or spooned over ice cream.

Store your boozy berries in a cool dark place. Use up during the holiday season.

Do you preserve fruit in alcohol? I'd love to hear about it and be inspired.

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