with the coming of spring, strawberries have started to appear at farmer’s markets, and they’re finally looking ripe enough to buy. i bought my first 3-pack this weekend with the intention of making another batch of strawberry liqueur, based on this recipe.
normally i’m an all-fruit-in kind of person, but when making infusions, i try to remove any green parts from fruit so it doesn’t affect the flavor. when preparing strawberries for a maceration infusion, half them lengthwise, and then use a pointed knife to cut a small trangle around the stem to remove it.
to maximize surface area and penetrability, cut the halves lengthwise again, and cross cut the quarters into thin slices. much of the fruit will dissolve into a heavenly strawberry syrup, releasing both flavor and sugar in the process. for this reason, there is no need to add sugar to a strawberry liqueur, the alcohol works with the fruit to give you a finished product in just a few days.
i took this right after i poured in the vodka, but over the next couple days, swirling the infusion should reveal a deep pink tint to the liquid. after 2-3 days, the fruit will be soft, at which point it’s time to strain off the vodka and wrap the pulp in cheese cloth to squeeze out the syrup. then just bottle it up and enjoy! i like this liqueur over soda and ice with a twist of lemon, lime, orange—whatever’s in season.
1 3-pack of mini-crates of strawberries
2 liter bottles vodka
2 half-gallon, wide-mouth jars
cut strawberries in half lengthwise, pare out the stem at the top, then quarter lengthwise again and cross-cut into small pieces for maximum surface area. distribute cut strawberries evenly between the 2 jars.
zest the lemon, mince the zest, and sprinkle equal amounts into each jar. toss strawberries and zest to mix evenly. roll the lemon on the counter to break some of the inner membranes holding juice, then slice the lemon as thinly as possible, and put equal amounts in each jar.
pour one bottle of vodka into each jar, swirl to mix, cap and store in the pantry 48 – 36 hours, swirling periodically to mix. test the fruit with a spoon, when it is soft, strain off the vodka and collect the strawberry pulp in cheesecloth and squeeze (twisting the top against the fruit helps) to extract all the macerated strawberry syrup. bottle and store up to 1 year.