Liqueurs are expensive to buy but marvellous to drink – so it’s a good idea to cut costs and make your own. They are easy to prepare – and fun too – and all you need is a jar with a tight cork, some suitable bottles and new corks to contain the finished product, and a strong will not to ‘test’ until the liqueur is actually ready to drink. And of course the rewards enormous! Serve Liqueur d’Abricot (lee-kurr d’ ah-bree-koh) with coffee.
1 lb. apricots, halved and stones reserved
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 lb. sugar lh pints dry white wine
16 fl. oz. gin
Place the apricots in a large saucepan and sprinkle over the allspice and sugar. Pour in the wine and place the saucepan over moderate heat. Bring the wine to the boil and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the gin. Crack the apricot stones with a hammer and extract the kernels. Discard the stones. Remove the skin from the kernels and stir into the mixture. Pour the mixture into a jug or crock and cork it tightly. Set it aside in a warm place and leave the mixture to infuse for 5 days.
Sterilize and dry two or three bottles. Uncork the jug and strain the liquid through a piece of cheesecloth into a clean jug. Squeeze out any apricot pulp in the cheesecloth to extract as much liquid as possible. Pour the liquid into the bottles.
Cork the bottles and set them aside for at least 1 week before serving. The longer you leave the liqueur to mature the better it will be.