We usually pick enough blackberries each year to make a batch of blackberry liqueur. We got a book on such things several years ago, made different kinds–peach, apple, herbal, and blackberry, and the last is the one we liked the most.
The book's recipe was what we used and it is fine stuff, tasty as an after-dinner drink, and even a great topping for ice cream.
This year, I decided to forego the book's mix and kick it up a notch, so I went with an old family recipe.
Well, not so old, given as how I made it up this morning, but different.
Here, the ingredients:
2 cups plain vodka
1 cup Southern Comfort
1 cup dark rum
2 cups white or pink wine - something dry and not too sweet
1-1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
Zest of one orange
Dash of vanilla
2 cups ripe blackberries.
Here's how you do it:
Put everything into a big jar. With a long-handled wooden spoon, crush the blackberries against the sides of the jar, enough to get a fair amount of juice from them. Stir like crazy to dissolve the sugar. Cap the jar and stick it into a dark closet. In two weeks, shake the mixture vigorously. I shouldn't have to say this, but make sure the cap is on tight before you do the agitation, okay?
Let it stand for another two weeks.
These are minimum times, you can let it age for as long as you want, but there's a point of diminishing returns. More than a month, it doesn't seem to get better, but neither does it get worse. I've heard tell of people who let stuff like this sit for a year without it going bad.
Use a strainer or cheesecloth to filter the blackberry sediment from the liquid, and repeat as necessary, two or three passes.
Once the larger particles are gone, you can use paper coffee filters (or a gold-mesh coffee cone) to do a final filtration.
Pour into bottles and cork. If you keep it in a dark and relatively-cool place, the liqueur will keep as long as any other bottled hootch you have.
Note: For the temperance folks who feel the need to drop me a note and warn me of the evils of drinking, as sometimes happens when I mention such things? Don't bother. You want to be a tea-totaller, fine by me, not my business. Nor is this your business–and remember, Jesus turned water into wine, not the other way around.