Drinks

liquore di albicocche (apricot liqueur)

apricot liqueur: almost as good as an aged port ::::

Every time I see apricots appear in season, my first instinct is to buy as many as possible. Admittedly, I have a variety of recipes sitting around that I’d like to try: this apricot tart, a smattering of apricot jams, and even grilled apricots (nevermind I don’t own a grill at the moment). The problem is this: Why mess with something that’s already so good? Why bother messing with it at all? Apricots are the perfect marrying of sweet and tang, juicy but not too juicy (ahem, Valencia oranges), soft but not too mushy (mangosteen!), and just a little fuzz (nothing like its behemoth cousin ack!-am-I-eating-a-mouse peach). Would making apricots into jam make their flavors sing even more when slathered on a piece of cinnamon-walnut toast? Would the sizzle of the grill wake up the floral, honey flavors with a carmelized undertone? Truth be told: overwhelmed by impatience, I end up eating them. Plain. No cooking. No baking. Just raw, unadulterated. Dare I say it: perfection?

 

But then there is alcohol. Perfection + hard alcohol = perfection in a tall glass and little ataxia. And so my apricot hoarding ended a couple of weeks ago, with 3/4 of a pound of them taking a long bath in some vodka. When I first read this recipe, the sunny color of the apricots and the chilled vodka together sounded like a dazzling summer drink. It was settled. My apricots had a new destiny. Immediately, I bought the vodka and started up chopping my sunny little friends.

 

Once soaked, the apricots oxidized some, so they looked a little brown and sad after 36 hours. But they were redeemed: the once-clear vodka took on a lovely muted yellow-peach color. The color alone is enough to be awestruck. The taste is light, smooth, and sweet, without the burn of the vodka as I expected (I used Absolut). It looks pretty in a small glass, such as a flower-etched sherry glass, with the light shining through.

 

And awestruck you might be, sitting and drinking this apricot liqueur into the late hours of some summery night, humid and heavy, bursting with fireworks. If you take awestruck to mean overdoing it, then I suggest a designated driver. Serve this with a fancy chocolate dessert (or with mattonella con biscotti sablée – coming soon). Or forget the fireworks: I’ll be enjoying this drink by the pink glow of my backyard’s trumpet flowers in the crepuscular light (post Grub and Peach bedtime). Happy Independence Day, America!

 

5.0 from 2 reviews
liquore di albicocche (apricot liqueur)
Author: 
Recipe type: drink
 
Ingredients
  • 2¼ cups good-quality vodka (preferably 80 proof)
  • ¾ pound fresh apricots, roughly chopped
  • 1 vanilla bean (if fresh, it will be moist and smell like heaven)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • Special equipment: cheesecloth, fine mesh sieve, and 1 empty clean 750-ml bottle with cap, or jar with lid
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl combine vodka, apricots, and vanilla bean. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 36 hours. (Some of my apricots oxidized a bit, starting at 12 hours.) Remove vanilla bean. Bean can be rinsed, dried and reserved for another use, like plunged into a bin of sugar for vanilla-scented sugar. I put mine into my homemade vanilla extract.
  2. Combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan and bring to simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove this simple syrup from heat and let cool to room temperature. Add to the vodka mixture.
  3. Line a fine-mesh sieve with cheesecloth. Strain vodka mixture through prepared sieve into a large bowl.* Transfer into 750-ml bottle with cap (or jar with lid). Refrigerate, covered, 2 weeks before serving. Serve liqueur chilled. If you want be less "awestruck," try a splash in lemonade topped with a couple of thin slices of apricot.
Notes
* Even with double sieve straining, I ended up with some of the little vanilla bean bits in my liqueur. It looked a little offputting to me, only because one might think it's dirt swimming around. No harm done on the taste.

 

    22 COMMENTS

  • Richard Newman May 4, 2014 Reply

    Giving it a try tell you in 3wks.
    REN

  • gardengirl July 16, 2014 Reply

    Made this last year with my lovely apricots. Fabulous recipe! Just started another batch. Definitely an annual ritual now!

    • story July 17, 2014 Reply

      Thanks! I tried it with raspberries this year; good but apricots were better.

  • […] There are many varieties of apricots currently growing in our orchards. Apricots are delicious to eat as hand fruit, they make wonderful desserts and jams, and as many of our customers over the years have told us, they do have a way of transforming alcohol!  Check out this recipe for a refreshing and unique apricot liqueur! (http://www.storyofakitchen.com/drink-recipes/apricot-liqueur/) […]

  • We gave you a shout-out on our blog today! This recipe sounds so delightful that we wanted to recommend it to customers purchasing apricots grown on our farm! 🙂

    • story July 25, 2014 Reply

      Thanks! It’s a great recipe. If some people don’t want to drink it, a drizzle over ice cream is nice.

  • Mishell September 9, 2014 Reply

    Curious if you found any use for the liquor soaked fruit after?

    • story September 9, 2014 Reply

      Interesting question….no, I haven’t. The dregs are so withered and discolored, they don’t seem very appetizing.

      • Mishell September 10, 2014 Reply

        I wondered if they could be base for some jam or something. Thanks for the response.

        • story September 11, 2014 Reply

          Hey, that could work, with lots of sugar. I suspect the taste would be heavy on the alcohol and less on the fruit, though.

        • Nancy Murphy November 2, 2017 Reply

          I have not made this liquor. But I do steep raspberries in vodka (or lemon, cranberry, whatever). Many of them I have strained the old fruit and put fresh fruit in the liquor. . .my raspberry has been refilled 5-6 time.

          When I strain the fruit out I use it to make hot sauce or bbq sauce.

          • story kitchen November 3, 2017

            That’s a good idea for the strained fruit! I will try it next time.

    • Cece December 18, 2016 Reply

      I made this last year and will do so again this year. I used the soaked apricots in apricot flans and also with ice cream for a simple but decadent dessert. Vac-seal them in portions or snap lock bags. Keep very well frozen

      • story December 18, 2016 Reply

        Delicious! Thanks for the tip.

  • Meg March 4, 2015 Reply

    Wonderful recipe – thank you! I made a batch with apricots in the early summer, now making a double batch with peaches. (We live in South America and have a lot of fruit trees around, so I am putting all the fruit to good use.) I found using the apricot dregs as a topping over vanilla ice cream was heaven, or making the dregs into an apricot cobbler. The color wasn’t bad at all! I also didn’t touch the liqueur for a full three weeks after it went in the fridge; the taste improved a lot – very mellow. Again, thanks so much.

    • story March 4, 2015 Reply

      Thanks for the feedback! I’ll have to try peaches this summer, as I live in peach central now.

  • Katie June 24, 2015 Reply

    You specified keeping this refrigerated; is that necessary for safe storage or only to enhance the flavor? Does the finished product require refrigeration? I usually store my pretty finished licquors where they can be seen & enjoyed…

    • story June 26, 2015 Reply

      Good question. I followed the recipe and this is what was recommended. I also prefer to drink chilled. The sugar and alcohol content may be enough to prevent fungal growth though I would not want to risk its possibility if keeping the liqueur out at room temperature after all of the work put into making the drink. Maybe if having guests, showcase it temporarily?

  • Marne August 24, 2017 Reply

    I would like to try this recipe. I was wondering if I can use rock sugar since I have it on hand in place of the sugar it is called for in the recipe?
    Thanks Marne

    • story kitchen August 24, 2017 Reply

      As long as the rock sugar dissolves completely, I don’t see why not. Good luck!

  • Marne August 24, 2017 Reply

    EI like this recipe.

  • Marne August 24, 2017 Reply

    Like!

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