This would be the first attempt in my journey of Liqueur making. I obtained a recipe from Gunther Anderson's site that sounded easy. For which I pretty much followed the recipe except for one deviation which I'll explain in a minute. First the original recipe.
Homemade Raspberry Liqueur (Hughes) Recipe
From: Eric Hughes
"Steep for 2 weeks. Strain and Filter. Add sugar syrup and vanilla extract. Age as long as possible (at least one week).
I found that the vanilla extract smoothed out the vodka's taste without overpowering the raspberries."
First, the recipe calls for vodka but does not mention the proof. The majority of recipes I have seen call for 100 proof or 80 proof, but unfortunately I did not have 80 proof, only 100 at the time. I figured I could dilute it a bit with some filtered water, so I used 2 and 1/2 cups of 100 proof vodka with 1/2 cup water. I really was not being scientific about this, being my first Liqueur. No idea what proof the final product will end up as.
After steeping for two weeks, filtering and adding in the called amount of sugar syrup I felt it was a little too tart and maybe too much of the alcohol bite. I then proceeded to add in about 3/4 cup *more* sugar syrup than originally called for.
Adding the additional syrup turned out to be a mistake in the end. After aging for a few more weeks the tartness and bite mellowed out far more than expected and I ended up with an overly sweet concoction. Next time I make this one I'll be sticking to the original recipe to see how it comes out after aging.
Now heres a bit of a review for the home-made Raspberry Liqueur.
The picture above makes it look more bright than it actually is. Photography is difficult to say the least. However in real life it is a deep ruby red, very beautiful. This liqueur is very appealing to the eye. With the right bottle you could have a masterpiece on the visual side of things.
At first you get a wash of the bitter raspberry but it is soon overpowered with intense sweet. I don't catch the vanilla much, and overall its a bit sickly sweet smelling.
Over the weeks I've been aging this, it has become better and better. However it is still too sweet. At first the raspberry was very distinct and tended towards a cough syrup type flavor, but now its mingled with the sugar and vanilla to become an intense sort of raspberry candy flavor.
It's not so sweet as to be disgusting, there is still enough tart and bitter of the raspberry to be inviting. Due to that over abundance of sweetness, this is not a sipping liqueur. I feel like this will be useful as a mixer perhaps in some stronger sodas. I will definitely let me next batch age before sweetening it any further and I'm betting it will come out much much better, less candy-like. It would probably be practical for me to be a bit more scientific with my measurements as well.