As August comes to a close and autumn descended on us all like a ton of bricks (I don't know you, but I had the heat on since Friday!) I came to the realisation that 2020 will be a write off in so many ways: environmental disasters of apocalyptic proportions, financial stress on the business side of things, health worries, mental strain, the societal descent into anarchy, the polarisation of masses, the end of democracies as we knew them, the loss of so many precious lives... it is all too much some days... but rather than getting bogged down on the horrid details, I've decided to officially declared 2020 void and start preparing for the celebrations I'll have kissing this bastard of a year good bye from the comfort of my own home with the other half and the nephew who lives with us.
I've recently become obsessed by infusing things: sugars, salts, ice-cream custards and of course, spirits, particularly Tequila & Mezcal. In April, our friends, Catherine & Fionnula gifted us a bag of freshly foraged elderflowers and I came running back home and made a litre of Elderflower Tequila Liqueur... It's just about ready now and I'm telling you, it's da bomb! - This got me thinking what else I could be doing with my blanco tequilas, which I often get gifts of and I don't drink, as I much prefer anejos or reposados, which are aged properly and have smoother taste. A batch of fresh raspberries was gotten and off I went into a world of joy and anticipation making this gorgeous Raspberry and Mexican Vanilla Tequila Liqueur. It takes no time and very little preparation to make it, but it must age in a dark, cool place for at least two months, but it's much better if you age it for three or four.
It's a perfect homemade gift for a special friend, it keeps for zonkers, there is no waste as when the liqueur is ready, you strain the fruit and the vanilla pod can be both used in other stuff, like a boozy raspberry jam, or a raspberry coulli, you can freeze the boozy berries and make an adult sorbet for a fancy occasion and the vanilla pod is perfectly usable as it is preserved in alcohol.
Since the liqueur is already sweeten, it's great to make instant cocktails: a good splash of this on a glass, top with some good quality tonic water, like Poacher's, which is not only delicious but also Irish, and a few ice cubes and off you go! It is also great to add over ice-cream, or to flavour home-made ice-cream, or to make sorbets... the downside, you must be patient and allow it to age and matured well before you drink it, but hey, it's something to look forward to in this awful, awful times!
Finally, the corona virus is real, please don't be using this recipe to host a house party, it's bollox of the highest order and plain irresponsible. Also, don't be an ass and wear a mask, you might be ok if you catch it, but others aren't as lucky as you. Some of us have underlined conditions and won't do well if we catch it. Stay home, take personal responsibility and save the world while watching Netflix and sipping on homemade cocktail, it is the simplest of things to do.
Sterilised a Kilner jar, I always have these jars handy as I use them for storage and for making all sorts of concoctions in them. I normally take the rubber seal out, wash them in warm soapy water, rinse them and then put them upside down in a preheated oven at 180 celsius for 15 minutes, I let them cool in the oven and then they're ready and fully sterilised. On the other hand, this process is seen by many as unnecessary when alcohol is involved, as it sorts of sterilised the jar by being in the jar, I'm not an expert and I don't want my stuff to go off, so I sterilise the jar just in case!
Fill the now cold jar with the fresh raspberries. Make sure you inspect the fruit and take out any bruised or damaged fruits before you put them in a jar.
Add the sugar over the berries. I always use 200 grams of sugar on average, but sometimes the berries might be way more acidic and you might need more sugar, so make it with the 200 grams and after two weeks, taste it and adjust the sugar to your taste. Add the vanilla pod whole into the middle of the fruit.
Pour the tequila over the sugary berries until everything is drown in tequila. Seal the jar and shake it vigorously until the sugar is completely disolved and the tequila starts getting pink in colour. Don't worry about the berries breaking in the process, all these will make the tequila delicious.
Take the jar and stick it in a dark, cool place and come back to shake it once a week; I have a cover under my desk in the coldest part of the kitchen and it is perfect for that. The liqueur is good to go in about 2 months, but it is much better after 3 or 4. I age mine as much as possible. When you're happy with it, take the jar out and strain the fruit and vanilla of the liqueur. I have a cheese cloth I use for this occasions, the ruby, sweet liquid is ready to decant into bottles of your choice. Don't throw away the boozy raspberries, read the note on the introduction for ideas on what to do with them!
I love this liqueur. It's fresh, delicious and it has endless possibilities, not just for cocktails, but for desserts too. Nothing goes to waste and it is a great way to preserve summer fruit. Go on, give it a go you won't regret it!