Sometime it just had to be said: We are huge cocktail lovers and drinkers! We like to sit in a bar for that reason, but beyond happy hour it’s just too expensive for some juice and a shot of booze. So we like to mix them ourselves. Few books about drinks and cocktails are sitting on my shelves between my cookbooks. But for mixing cocktails you need some main ingredients at home, otherwise you will give up soon.
Therefore it’s helpful to have some juices at home, like orange, pineapple, lemon and lime juice. You can also buy bottled lemon and lime juice, they are just alright for mixing and they have a long shelf life in the fridge after opening.
Then you need syrups and liquors. I’m trying to make some of them myself at home, because taking a closer look at the ingredients of many syrups and liquors makes me sick. Most of them have seen the fruit only from the distance and mainly consist of sugar, water, artificial flavours and some stabilizers and preservatives. Mostly, fruit liquors can be easily made at home. I’m making peach and strawberry liquor every year in bulk.
We also like to substitute liquors with syrups and vice versa, since both are sweet and the alcohol content of a liquor doesn’t carry much weight, if you use only 2 cl. Moreover, we don’t follow instructions very closely: if the recipe says raspberry liquor, we take strawberry liquor instead, as we don’t have raspberry and in the end, they are all made from red berries ;).
Last but not least you need some booze, unless you’re preparing an alcohol free cocktail, of course. Vodka, gin, rum, brandy/cognac, tequila, that are my five to go. Don’t buy the cheapest stuff, unless you prefer a headache on the next day. But it also hasn’t to be the most expensive stuff.
A lot of cocktails require triple sec or curaçao (or cointrau or grand marnier). These are liquors with 40 percent alcohol by volume with the taste of bitter oranges and they belong to the family of triple sec/curaçao. You see, if it’s a family, it’s mostly the same. Mostly of course, not 100 %, but if you make yourself free from the exact thing and just enjoy a cocktail, well then yes! Therefore we only own one bottle of grand marnier and that’s it (in Germany you can buy the yellow and cheapest one at A.ldi). If the recipe requires curaçao or triple sec, we just use grand marnier, that’s it. By the way, blue curaçao is the same stuff just with blue artificial colouring. Yuck. As I prefer my cocktails without artificial colours, we replace this also with grand marnier.
If you like creamy cocktails, it makes sense to have some whipping cream (best without carrageenan) at home and some coconut milk.
And then there are these liquors you buy because of the name/brand, but you really don’t know exactly what’s in it. Or that it’s so so easy to make them at home and save a lot of money, too. Kahlúa and Tia Maria, are two of these kind. They are coffee liquors, but the bottle doesn’t say it. And with coffee liquor you can make a lot of delicious cocktails, especially with whipping cream.
So today I’ll give you the recipe for the liquor and soon the recipe for a scrumptious cocktail. Let’s go to the kitchen and prepare some liquor!
One year ago: vanilla, lemon and orange extract
Two years ago: toast bread
Three years ago: rhubarb streusel cake
adapted from Home Made
yields: 750 ml
- 375 g sugar (half brown, half white)
- 375 ml water
- 100 ml very strong espresso
- 2 vanilla pods
- 200 ml vodka
Cut the vanilla pods lengthwise and scrape out the seeds.
In a saucepan bring the sugar, water, espresso and vanilla seeds and pods to the boil. Cook for about an hour until you have a thick syrup. Let it cool slightly and remove the vanilla pods.
Stir in the vodka and fill into sterilized bottles.