I love fruit. I love liqueurs. I love the two of them together! Italian summers bring some of the sweetest, most delicate strawberries I have ever tasted. I have recently done a series of vodka infusion experiments, including the successful pear vodka I previously posted about, and the not-so-successful melon (which I did not post about). But with these delicious strawberries, I think it would be pretty hard to mess up.
Here is how to make your own Strawberry Liqueur
Cut up fresh, ripe, flavorful and preferably organic strawberries and place them into a lidded glass jar or bowl. Fill it up to cover the strawberries with good quality vodka. Measurements don't need to be exact, but figure about 12-15 ounces of vodka per pint/basket of berries.
Similar to Making Limoncello, this strawberry liqueur requires making an alcohol infusion with fruit and then combining it with an equal part of simple syrup. Let your strawberries macerate for several days, covered and refrigerated. Check them frequently to stir it up and make sure the color is moving out of the strawberries and into the vodka. I soaked my strawberries for about six days, but that can very with the type of strawberry, so keep an eye on it. I base it on the taste--when the fruit is pale and the alcohol is very flavorful, I strain it out. It should be a bright, beautiful ruby color.
When your infusion is ready, strain your vodka from the fruit pulp using a fine sieve. I didn't have time to make the syrup when the infusion was ready, so I strained it into a separate bottle to keep for a day or two in the refrigerator until I had time. You can skip this step and strain it directly into a pitcher for mixing with the syrup.
When you are ready to make the liqueur, bring equal parts of water and sugar to boil and simmer until it becomes a syrup (use the same amount of water as you have infused vodka). Let your syrup cool to room temperature before adding it to the vodka. As you combine the two, keep tasting the liqueur until it reaches your desired sweetness. I don't like it too sweet, so I usually don't use all the syrup.
Before filling your bottle, set up another filter (like a coffee cone) to filter the liquor through a paper filter. This will prevent any small sediment from spoiling your liquor after time. Pour the liqueur into a clean, beautiful bottle (always save beautiful bottles, they can be reused for your homemade liqueurs!) and serve chilled. With it's gorgeous pink color and the taste of strawberry candy, it is the perfect, summer drink!