Herbal Liqueurs

For the past couple of years I've been fooling around with liqueur making, especially herbal liqueurs.  I love amaros, Italian bitter digestive cordials, so I've done some research and found a nice old recipe, most of which I could either grow or get my hands on somehow.  I made it last year and followed the recipe but it came out sickeningly sweet so this year I used considerable restraint and made a much more palatable libation.

Liquore de erbe
  • 200 ml alcohol 95%bv
  • 500 ml water
  • 400 g sugar
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 10 mint leaves
  • 10 chamomile flowers
  • 10 sweet basil leaves
  • 10 lemon leaves
  • 15 sage leaves
  • 3 cloves
  • 3 saffron filaments
Steep botanicals in alcohol for 20 days. Add sugar syrup. Strain. Age for 4 weeks before consuming.  I made a simple syrup and added it to the brew one tablespoon at a time to the tune of six tablespoons per cup.

Also after reading through recipes of many herbal liqueurs made by monks over hundreds of years, I attempted to create my own recipe using mostly herbs grown in the 6/15 Green Community Herb Garden.  After harvesting the herbs I chose a few things from my apothecary herb collection and began macerating.  After falling in love with Chartreuse earlier in the year I made sure to include a lot of angelica, a principle ingredient in Chartreuese.

                                                                                     Sixfifteen Herb Garden Liqueur

                                                                                          oregano, nine inch stem
chamomile, 30 or so flowers
lemon balm, several handfuls
hyssop, two flowering stems
angelica, half stem
angelica root, one teaspoon
angelica seed, one teaspoon
mint, three large stems
coriander, two flowering tops
rosemary, 9 inch stem
basil, 15 leaves
sage, 4 seven inch stems
dried orange peel, one teaspoon
vanilla, half pod
saffron, five threads
cloves, nine cloves
calamus root, generous half teaspoon
wormwood, dried, three generous pinches
cinnamon, one small stick
orris root powder, half rounded teaspoon
mace, quarter teaspoon
lavender, eight stems
red clover, eight blossoms
yarrow flowers, one flower head

Steep all ingredients in vodka to cover for at least 30 days.  Sweeten to taste with simple syrup and age two months.

Overall both liqueurs came out very good and quite palatable.  I'll keep trying in the years to come but this holiday season I'll be very pleased to serve my guests a little cordial straight from my garden after a full meal.