I’m always looking for beautiful food gifts to give at holiday times. I used to feel sort of apologetic about this, since it was motivated by the inability to spend big wads of cash on gifts for everyone. But I’ve stopped feeling apologetic–everyone who gets fresh baked goods or the latest jam or syrup from my kitchen has shown great enthusiasm about them. Here’s a wonderful raspberry liqueur that I discovered last year in this book. I’ve given it as gifts to family and friends, to great response. It’s called Framboise (French for “raspberry”.) And I think it will be lovely in a very tiny liqueur glass on New Year’s Eve.
Soak 6 cups of raspberries in 12 cups of the best quality vodka you can afford. Store in a tightly covered container in a cool dark place for 2 months, stirring every few weeks.
Strain the berries through a fine colander into a large bowl. Press the berries to get all the liqueur out. Set pulp aside (the cookbook I got this from says to discard, but I like to use it to make my fabulous Wizbang Syrup.)
Combine 3 c. sugar and 1 1/2 c. water in a saucepan. Bring to boil, and allow to boil 1-2 minutes, or until all the sugar is dissolved.
Add 1 3/4 c. of the sugar syrup to the liqueur and taste. Add it a little at a time until the liqueur is the desired sweetness.
Pour into clean dry bottles and cork. (I buy the Grolsch-style bottles with a swingover ceramic lid from a local homebrew place.) Using those bottles, this recipe makes about 5 bottles.
If this is for gifts, you can buy printable wine labels and make it a personalized package.
You’ll see that the recipe calls for 2 months of soaking the berries in the vodka. Don’t panic if you didn’t plan ahead for this. You can find raspberries fresh at Sam’s Club that are not TOO ruinously expensive. Or you can even use frozen berries. Put them in now, and you’ll still get quite a bit of flavor transfer in a few weeks. And you should plan ahead for next summer/fall–plan to pick enough berries while they are in season, so that you can give this as gifts.