Liqueur 101: Basics on the Production of Liqueur

You might have had some bottles of blue rhino liqueur or just about any liqueur to the point of wondering why it tastes so good. And you may even want to go a step further to have a glass – or maybe a jar – of liqueur prepared for yourself in the comfort of your home. It may be about experiencing what it really takes to bring the liqueur together, or it could be that you are looking to save cost on buying another pack of your favorite liqueur. Whatever the case may be, making your liqueur brings some thrills with it, and it would even be a  worthwhile experience. It is on this premise that some of the relevant things about the making of liqueur will be discussed in this article. So, read on to know more about the tools/equipment, techniques, and other niceties associated with the production of a homemade liqueur.

Tools and Equipment

The tools you need to make liqueur are mostly household items. For one, you will need measuring cups with good calibration to have the right proportion of base alcohol measured out. Also, there should be a weighing scale and jar – for storing the liqueur – within reach. Additionally, since you’re dealing with a drink that has alcohol content, it is imperative that you measure the alcohol present in your drink by volume. To do this, you will need to get a hydrometer – this equipment is very much available at a cost that doesn’t break the bank.

Techniques Used in Making Liqueur

Generally, there are two techniques that can be adopted in making liqueur, and this would usually influence the time certain ingredients – like the flavoring and sweetener – are to be added. The techniques are hereby discussed below:

Extraction: This is simply down to bringing out the active ingredients in the flavoring agent, and it can be achieved in two different ways – maceration and percolation. Maceration, which is also known as “cold infusion,” entails immersing the flavoring agent(s) into the alcohol base. It normally takes a longer duration – say, 4–8 weeks – to complete this process. Plus, the percentage of the alcohol content always determines the level of bitterness of the liqueur in this case. In short, the higher the alcohol base, the less bitter the mixture will be. 

Percolation, on the other hand, is also called “hot extraction,” and the action of heat here makes it faster to extract the active ingredients of the flavoring agents used. To use this method, you will have to put the base alcohol into a container that can tolerate heat while other flavoring agents are kept in some sort of filter – which is over the container. The base alcohol is then brought to boil continuously for the vapor to ascend and draw out the flavors. Once this is completed, you can go ahead to sweeten the mixture.

Distillation: In this instance, the flavoring agents are put into a special (distillation) apparatus. The alcohol base is poured into the container in such a way that it immerses the flavoring agents, and heat is applied to the set-up to have the flavors isolated. It should be noted that distillation may be done in combination with any of the other techniques.