The third homemade liqueur that I ever attempted was using Dried Apricots. It was at a point where I was more interested making any type of homemade liqueur in the kitchen and there was no local fresh fruit in season. The result was something between a kiss from the sun and a gift from the gods.
Perfectly ripe fresh Apricots are one of the true pleasures to experience in this world. Unfortunately, perfectly ripe Apricots are difficult to find and dried Apricots are a distant second. However, when diced Dried Apricots are added to liquor and sugar and allowed to steep for a couple of months, the final result is phenomenal. Of all the homemade cordials that I have attempted, it is the only one where my friends have made it perfectly clear that they would like more. Their intentions are clear enough that they have provided the bottle and not a small one.
The first attempt at making Dried Apricot Liqueur, I exactly followed the instructions from the book Cordials from Your Kitchen by Pattie Vargas and Rich Gulling.
- 1 Cup of Water
- 2 Cups of Sugar
- 1 Pound of Dried Apricots (Chopped)
- ¾ Cup of 100 Proof Vodka
- ¾ Cup of Brandy
- 1 Teaspoon of Orange Zest
- 1 Tablespoon of Fruit Protector
- 5 Drops of Yellow Food Coloring
- 2 Drops of Red Food Coloring
- Make a simple syrup with the water and sugar.
- In a 2 quart jar dump in your chopped Dried Apricots and pour in the cooled syrup our over the chopped Dried Apricots.
- Add all of the remaining ingredients stir well and store in a dark place for a month.
- A month later, strain out the solids, pour the Dried Apricot Liqueur through wetted coffee filters or cheese cloth to net smaller particles and then bottle in a wine bottle, decanter or other glass bottle with a tight fitting cap. Over time there may be some additional separation of even smaller solids from the liqueur. You can either attempt to filter these small particles (more like fruit dust) or just realize that you will probably never get the liqueur perfectly clear. The result is a liqueur that is deep amber in color and intense in the flavor of Dried Apricots.
My second attempt I deviated from the instructions. I doubled the amount of Apricots and Syrup, and more than doubled (closer to tripled the amount of liquor used). In lieu of a 1:1 ratio of Brandy to Vodka, I used a ratio of 1:2 Brandy to 198 Proof Grain Alcohol. I did not double the amount of food coloring and I used no fruit protector on the second batch. I also allowed the mixture to sit for four months. This was more because of being busy. The result was just as intense flavored kitchen cordial, but the color was lighter and the overall strength of the alcohol was greater, but not so much that it was too strong. The liqueur was just as sweet for the additional time allowed to steep extracted more of the sugars in the Dried Apricots.
You cannot go wrong with a Dried Apricot Liqueur. If you love the taste of Apricots, then the intensity of flavor from the Dried Apricots will have this cordial at the top of your list. Not only is the flavor amazing, but because Dried Apricots are available year round, you can make this sun kissed nectar any time you desire.