Makes about 1 quart.

Note: This recipe, from "Classic Liqueurs" by Cheryl Long and Heather Kibbey, needs 1/2 to 21/2 months to age. Glycerin is available in drugstores, winemaking supply shops and some herb stores. It's used to give body to thin liqueurs.

• 21/2 c. dark rum

• 4 vanilla beans, split lengthwise

• 1 c. sugar

• 1 cup water

• 2 tbsp. glycerin


Combine rum and vanilla beans in a glass container and shake to mix. Age in a cool, dark place for 2 to 3 weeks.

Then, in a small saucepan, combine sugar and water. Stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat; continue stirring until all sugar is dissolved. Let cool.

Strain aged rum and vanilla bean mixture by pouring through coffee filter or cloth bag placed in strainer over medium bowl. (Save vanilla beans to make vanilla sugar; rinse and let dry completely, then place in a pint jar with 2 cups sugar and let age for a few days. Use vanilla sugar in baked goods.)

Combine cooled syrup with liqueur. Stir in glycerin. Bottle, cap and age in a cool, dark spot for an additional 1 to 2 months before serving.


Makes about 21/4 pints

Note: This recipe is from "Luscious Liqueurs," by A.J. Rathbun. It requires at least 5 weeks of preparation.

• 31/2 c. cherries

• 1 1/2 c. vodka

• 1 1/2 c. brandy

• 21/2 c. water

• 3 c. sugar


Remove the cherry stems. Using a paring knife, slice each cherry from top to bottom and then back to the top again (slicing around the whole cherry) to expose the pits. Put the cherries in a glass container with a tight-fitting lid.

Add the vodka and brandy, stir slightly, and seal. Place in a cool, dry spot away from sunlight. Let sit for 2 weeks, twirling the container every other day.

Combine water and sugar in a medium-size pan. Stirring occasionally, bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat a bit and keep the mixture at a low boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

Add the simple syrup to the cherry mixture, stir well, reseal and return to its spot. Let sit for 2 more weeks, twirling carefully twice a week.

Filter the liqueur through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl. Strain again through a double layer of cheesecloth. Finally strain through two new layers of cheesecloth into 1 large bottle or a number of small bottles or jars. Let sit for 1 more week before using.


Makes about 1 1/2 quarts

This recipe is a version of Kahlúa from "Classic Liqueurs." It should age for 2 to 3 months.

• 2 c. water

• 1/4 c. plus 2 tsp. instant coffee granules or powder

• 31/2 c. sugar

• 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

• 23/4 c. vodka

• 3/4 c. brandy

• 1/4 tsp. chocolate extract

• 1 drop red food coloring


Heat water in medium saucepan. When hot, add coffee and stir until dissolved. Add sugar and vanilla bean, stirring well to combine. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Immediately reduce heat so a very low boil is maintained for 1 minute. Remove from heat and cool to lukewarm.

Pour vodka and brandy into glass container. Add the cooled coffee mixture and chocolate extract. Stir well. Cap and let age in a cool, dark place for 3 weeks.

After initial aging, strain liqueur through a cloth-lined wire mesh strainer into a large bowl. Save vanilla bean for another use. Repeat until desired clarity is reached. Stir in food coloring. Bottle, cap and let age an additional 1 to 3 months.


Makes 1 quart

Note: This is a version of Drambuie from "Classic Liqueurs." It should age at least 3 months and up to 6. Angelica root may be found where bulk herbs and homeopathic remedies are sold.

• 1 fifth Johnny Walker Black Label Scotch, or your choice

• 11/2 c. mild honey

• 2 tsp. dried, chopped angelica root

• 1/4 tsp. fennel seeds, crushed

• 2 (2-in.) strips of lemon rind


Combine all ingredients in a glass container. Cover tightly and shake gently several times during the first 24 hours. Remove lemon zest. Cover again and let stand in a cool, dark place for 2 weeks, shaking or stirring gently every other day.

Strain through a wire sieve to remove angelica and fennel. Return to aging container, cover and let stand undisturbed in a cool, dark place for several months.


Makes about 1 quart.

Note: This recipe can be adapted to other fruits or berries; it's from This website also contains many other recipes and resources for making homemade liqueurs.

• 1 lb. berries or other fruit

• 3 c. vodka

• 11/4 c. sugar


Rinse the berries or fruit. Fruit must be cut into small pieces. Place berries or fruit in a clean glass container, and add vodka. Cap and store in a cool, dark place, stirring once a week for 2 to 4 weeks.

Strain through metal colander lined with cloth until desired clarity is achieved.

To unsweetened liqueur, add sugar, stirring well to dissolve. Transfer the liqueur to a glass container with a tight cap.

Let age in a cool, dark place for at least 3 months, stirring once a week.