A couple of summers ago, Bryan and I spent 4th of July in Paris with some family friends. They hosted a lovely barbecue in our honor and we ate and drank all sorts of delicious things. What stood out to me the most was an aperitif that the grandfather of the family had made. My French is pretty bad so I have no idea what it actually was, but I think it had something to do with prunes. In any case, I liked that liqueur so much and I loved that it was homemade. The kind man was clearly proud of his creation and spent the early part of the evening holding the bottle and giving out tastes to anyone who was interested. I had more than my share.
There is something very satisfying about making a liqueur at home, a task that seems both more common and better appreciated in Europe. It is a process that requires patience but the results can be incredible. The amber colored goodness featured in the photos started off as a crazy looking concoction of curdled milk and chocolate (yes, chocolate!). Even when I was getting ready to filter it, I had a hard time believing it would turn into this beautiful golden elixir. The flavor is a surprise–a very rich and creamy chocolate that is immensely comforting and warming. If you are anything like me, you will be very proud of your liqueur and excited to share it with friends. I think this is something I could get into. Next up- I need to track down the French man and get his recipe!
***NEW RECIPE INDEX ALERT** Finally, I have gotten around to dealing with my recipe index. Bryan did a great job of organizing everything for me and now posts will automatically be added to the index and it should remain up to date. Thanks for your patience with this! Check it out!
Milk Liqueur/licor de leite (from The New Portuguese Table by David Leite)
- 2 1/2 cups grappa (or unflavored vodka)
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, grated
- 1/2 lemon, seeded and chopped, with rind
Pour the grappa and milk into an impeccably clean half-gallon glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Scoop in the sugar, chocolate and lemon. Cover tightly and shake well to help the sugar begin to dissolve. It will look curdled, and it should. Set aside in a cool dark place and shake or stir well every day for 10 days.
Set a cheesecloth-lined colander over a bowl and pour in the mixture. When the mixture has finished draining, squeeze the cloth to release as much liquid as possible, and discard the solids.
Line a sieve with a paper coffee filter (we used our Chemex coffee pot). Pour in the liqueur and let the mixture drip through to a clean bowl–this can take up to 24 hours. Change the filter when it becomes clogged with the residue from the liqueur. (It took me about 24 hours and 4 filters) You can repeat this step once or twice to clarify it as much as possible. (I didn’t)
Pour the liqueur into a clean decanter with a tight-fitting top. It will keep at room temperature for up to 6 months.