Last year I made a batch of this ginger liqueur (recipe adapted from here), and though at first I wasn’t sure how to use it, we eventually discovered that it makes all kinds of drinks better. It goes really well with fruity flavors, especially citrus, and it adds just a bit of spiciness. When we ran out I knew immediately I had to make some more, so I whipped up a second batch. This time I even designed and printed my own label–it’s a bit classier than Sharpie on masking tape, isn’t it? I might have to make my own labels for everything from now on.
1/3 cup peeled ginger root, finely chopped
1/2 cup sugar
300 mL Everclear (190 proof)
475 mL water
1 vanilla bean
1 lemon, zested
1. Peel the ginger* and finely chop it. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise.
2. Bring the ginger, vanilla, sugar, and 200 mL of the water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until ginger is soft—about 20 minutes. Let the syrup cool. Do not strain yet.
3. Zest the lemon and place the zest in a glass bottle along with the rest of the water, the cooled syrup, and alcohol. Seal and shake, then let this mixture steep for one day.
4. After one day, remove the vanilla bean and let the mixture steep for an additional three days.
5. Strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer into your bottle or jar for storage. Press on the ginger pulp with the back of a spoon to extract all of the liquid. Let the liqueur sit for at least one more day before using to let flavors mellow.
*A great way to peel ginger is with a spoon. I was skeptical the first time I tried this, but it works really well for getting around the bumps and knobs of ginger root.
For this recipe I used Everclear, which is 95% alcohol. They keep that stuff behind the counter at my local liquor store, but I understand that in some states they don’t even sell it, or only a lower proof version that’s 75.5% alcohol. You can use that, or if you can’t find it, vodka. You’ll just want to adjust the amount of water and alcohol you add so your final volume and percent alcohol is approximately the same. Here are some calculations for you:
For 75.5% (151 proof) Everclear: 377 mL alcohol, 397 mL water
For 40% vodka (80 proof): 750 mL alcohol, 200 mL water (your final volume will be higher and your percent alcohol lower with this one.)
Please feel free to download and use the label I made for my liqueur. Print on clear full sheet labels (I used these, cut out, and affix to a bottle. (As I used this for longer, I discovered that you need to spray the label with a clear sealer, otherwise it will run if alcohol drips onto it.)