What you thought I'd fallen off the face of the earth and you weren't getting your new Halloween Martini this year? Have no fear, I'm still here, I've just been really busy working on new cocktail book (still am) but I can't let Halloween go by without something fun and new for you to do!
First of all - you get to make CANDY CORN VODKA and it's so easy to do and quick to make you can literally wait until Halloween morning (but don't, you might want to make extra for hostess gifts for those Halloween parties you're going to!
Then you get to put that Candy Corn Vodka into the
Liqueur Facts, Production Methods and HOMEMADE LIQUEUR RECIPES
You may wonder what is a liqueur? What makes it different from just any old liquor*? Merriam-Webster defines liqueur as: "a sweetened alcoholic liquor (such as brandy, whiskey, vodka, etc) flavored with fruit, spices, nuts, herbs, or seeds". You can also add cream or milk products to produce a cream liqueur such as Irish Cream. There is a subset of liqueurs called cordials and these would be the liqueurs made with fruits and/or fruit juices.
There are four different methods of producing a Liqueur:
Distillation - where the flavoring elements and the spirit are blended together and then distilled**.
Maceration - where the flavoring ingredients are mixed with the alcohol and allowed to infuse together.
Infusion - where the flavoring elements are "infused" with hot water to release their natural flavors then mixed with the alcohol.
Percolation - where the alcohol is pushed through the flavoring agents to absorb their flavors.
Some examples of liqueurs you can purchase would be:
Grand Marnier - a combination of cognac and orange.
Cointreau - a combination of brandy and oranges.
Drambuie - a combination of Scotch whisky with heather honey and herbs.
Triple Sec - an orange flavored liqueur made from the dried peels of bitter and sweet orange.
Irish Cream - a combination of whiskey, cream and flavorings (usually chocolate and coffee).
Chambord - a blend of black raspberries, cognac, berry and fruit extracts and proprietary spices.
Southern Comfort - a blend of bourbon, orange and peaches.
Kahlua - a sugar cane (rum) and coffee liqueur.
How To Make Your Own Liqueurs:
You can make a ton of your own liqueurs. Some are extremely easy and take only a little patience, time and work. To make your own liqueurs you simply combine a base liquor with a flavoring ingredient to which you may add a sweetening ingredient.
There are tons of recipes online for homemade liqueurs, including the famous liqueurs you pay a nice chunk of change for. Don't be afraid to experiment with making your own customized liqueurs. Try a combination of your favorite fruits, spices, herbs, nuts, even add some cream if you want. Just remember that if you add creams or milk products you will want to keep your liqueur refrigerated and drink it up fast as these liqueurs (homemade AND store bought) do have a shelf life and require refrigeration.
Homemade Liqueurs made excellent gifts too!
Make up a large batch, pour into some pretty bottles and add a custom label!! I have a ton of fun Cocktail Themed Labels you can customize and personalize for all your Liqueur Gifts
I've not only made homemade liqueurs, I've created many infused spirits, what I call my little "moonshinin' hobby": MOONSHINE MADNESS
*Definition of Liquor: a usually distilled rather than fermented alcoholic beverage
**Distillation: the process of separating, concentrating, or purifying liquid by boiling it and then condensing the resulting vapor.
Spray your cake pan mold and set aside.
Mix the caramel sauce in with the cake vodka and set aside.
Place the milk into your saucepan and sprinkle the Knox in, stir and allow to settle for a minute or two.
Heat on low setting until the gelatin is completely dissolved, about 2 to 3 minutes or so.
Set the gelatin milk mixture aside.
In a separate bowl add the remaining 1 cup of milk and the pudding mix and beat for about 1 minute or until the pudding is completely incorporated.
Add in the gelatin milk mixture, mix well.
Immediately add the 1 cup of cake vodka/caramel sauce and mix for another minute.
Pour into your greased cake pan and let set for at least an hour.
Once your pudding gel has set up you are ready to cut out your shapes.
Pour some caramel sauce into your serving dish then carefully place your Caramel Custard Cocktail Gel in the center and top off with your delicate burnt sugar garnish.
* How to Create the Caramelized "Burnt" Sugar Garnish:
2 C. Sugar
1 C. Water
Silpat or Parchment Lined Baking Sheet
Mix the sugar and water in a small saucepan and place on medium heat. Heat until the sugar is completely dissolved and starts to turn a light, golden caramel color (it will read 310 F on a candy thermometer).
Remove immediately from the heat and allow to cool until the mixture thickly coats the back of a spoon but is dripping off in a continuous stream.
Quickly dip the spoon into the molten sugar and start drizzling fun shapes onto your silpat or parchment lined baking sheet. Do the whole sheet as some will break or not be as pretty as you would like - this way you get to pick and choose!
If the burnt sugar cools off too quick you can reheat it until it's molten again as long as you don't burn it - burnt sugar is very dark and very bitter!!
Allow the shapes to cool and store in a very dry place until ready to garnish.