Easy Raspberry Liqueur to Heal, to Gift

Published on 16 May 2024 at 10:53

Easy Raspberry Liqueur to Heal, to Gift


It is only a scant few weeks until Raspberries are ready to pick.  I have a wild fence row with wild canes of raspberries that grow along it.  I can't resist them; they are my favorite berry of the summer.  Don't get me wrong, I love all the other berries, the strawberries, the blackberries, and of course the blueberries.  But for me, you can't beat the taste of black raspberries (Rubus occidentalis).  Native to North America they have a milder, sweeter taste than the red raspberry.  Both types are high in vitamins, fiber and minerals and very high in antioxidants.  But the darker berry has the highest amounts of the good stuff.  Lots of vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, it also contains quercetin, a gallic acid studies reveal fights cancer, heart disease and age-related decline.  Berries can actually be the elixir of youth?  Well, let's just say these berries can be a great aid in your arsenal of health and you can have fun doing it.


You can make a tasty tea from the leaves, and traditionally it is very helpful for female problems.  I used to use it for painful cramping back in the day.  It is said to help in postpartum recovery, and helps strengthen the uterine muscles, though those who are pregnant should always consult their doctor before usage.  It can also calm tummy issues and aids in digestion.  So as a tea, it can be not only delicious but helpful.


However, I'm getting side-tracked.  This year, instead of making raspberry leaf tea or raspberry jam, I'm thinking of making a raspberry liqueur.  I've got plenty of jam left over from last year.  And my cramping days are long gone---but I still may get a cup or two of raspberry leaf tea in just for the enjoyment.   That said, it has been a hot minute since I've made any liqueurs, and I can get a double benefit by making it as a health boost for myself and get going on some Christmas gifts too.  The liqueur is an easy-to-make drink.  All you need is fruit and sugar, steep that in alcohol for a bit, and it can be used as an aperitif or after-dinner digestive that everyone who gets it enjoys (at least those who enjoy raspberries and sweet liquor).  In the Middle-ages, monks made these various fruit and herbal drinks as medicines, tonics or even love potions.  All the goodness of the berries is distilled into the alcohol, somewhat similar to an herbal tincture but much more enjoyable.


It takes several months to steep, so it is a good idea to make as the berries come in to make sure you get enough to carry you through the winter and the holidays.  And it isn't a bad idea to have extra for fall celebrations!  You can also add herbs that complement the berries and enhance their healing qualities.  Just be sure not to add too much of the herb as it can overwhelm the berry flavor.  Experiment by adding mint for a refreshing taste, or try the peppery flavor of basil to balance the sweetness of the berries, or lemon verbena can add a citrusy punch that is refreshing.  You can even add spices if you wish, cinnamon sticks, vanilla bean or other whole spices.  It is all according to your taste and the tastes of your intended recipient.


Gather 4 cups of clean fresh or frozen unsweetened raspberries.  Put 2 cups of raspberries into two separate quart mason jars. If adding herbs, add several sprigs of clean fresh herbs at this time.   Add 1 cup of sugar to each jar.  Take a bottle of at least 80-proof quality vodka and cover the berries completely.  Put on the lid and store in a cool dark place about two months, shaking ever so often.  Make sure you date the jars.  When done, decant by straining it well into your bottle or jar.  When ready to gift, add a decorative label and ribbon making sure to date when it was created and the use by date. Stored properly, away from heat and light, these drinks should last up to a year.  I like to save old wine bottles or even the vodka bottles from spent jars for such a purpose.  I soak off the labels or cover them with my own creations to pretty them up.


Yes, I believe this is the year that I'm creating several different versions of liqueurs to add to my cupboard.  Heaven only knows what combos I will come up with.  But I'm sure they will be quite delicious on a cold, wintery day.

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