Monday, October 3, 2011

Hooch: Strawberry Black Pepper Liqueur

Where there's smoke, there's usually strawberry Jello. – J. D. Salinger

Beautiful, red and delicious.
This is a repeat, sort of. On my last post about strawberry liqueur (Feb 6, 2011) I received a comment from a young lady who said she had strawberry-pepper vodka in an restaurant in Toronto. They apparently make their own.

Well, not to be outdone (or perhaps to furnish us all with a recipe) I have come up with a version that is quite tasty. It ranks right up there with the regular strawberry liqueur which is divine. Don’t worry – it’s not overly peppery, just ‘spicy.”

I'm finding that of all the fruit I've used to infuse vodka the strawberry seems to hide/complement/mask the alcohol taste the best. It's almost like there's no liquor in this at all. The only other fruit that does a better job of it so far is chokecherry/chokeberry.

Local strawberries are long past in Nova Scotia. Their season is late June through July so I ended up using USA grown. Sometimes the imports are hit and miss with regard to strawberry intensity. This time they were a hit. Taste one and you'll know what you have.

The technique for this liqueur is slightly different than previously and I have cut back the alcohol so the end result comes in at about 20% alc. vol. Feel free to put a whole 750 ml in the infusion to make it 30%. I’m sure it will still be great, just more potent.

Try this liqueur in mixed drinks or martinis. I'm certain it would make an amazing martini...

Strawberry Black Pepper Liqueur
Makes 2 x 375 ml, plus a large enough glass for you to enjoy the fruits of your labour
Strain the fruit syrup through a sieve lined with fine cloth.
1 lb fresh ripe strawberries (cultivated or wild)
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 tbsp whole black peppercorns
375 ml vodka (your favourite, I used Sobieski Polish vodka)

Wash, hull and slice the berries. Heat the sugar and water in a medium saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Add the strawberries and peppercorns. Let boil together for 5 minute.

Place the mixture in a non-reactive bowl and let cool. Then cover it with saran wrap and let sit in the refrigerator for one week.

 After the week strain through a piece of fine cloth and discard the pulp. Gently squeeze the cloth to extract as much juice as possible without squeezing through pulp. That makes the liqueur cloudy. You should have about two cups of liquid.

Combine with the vodka, bottle and let sit for one week before use. Alcohol content is about 20%.


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