Make your Own Liquor: Unusual and Traditional recipes

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If you want to give your guests something out of the ordinary, why not make your own liquor? These delicious recipes can be brought out at celebrations and dinner parties to give your entertaining a memorable twist.

Atholl Brose

Traditionally served at celebrations in Scotland, Atholl Brose is a sweet, warming liquor that will make an interesting change from whiskey and soda.

Start by soaking ¾ of a cup of ground oatmeal in one cup of warm water. Use a pottery bowl to soak the oatmeal, it’s traditional. Stir it well to combine and leave the bowl of oatmeal, covered with a tea towel, for about 30 minutes.

Pour the oatmeal into a sieve and squeeze out the liquid with the back of a wooden spoon into another bowl. Don’t discard the oatmeal, you can add sugar and milk to it and make porridge.

Strain the oatmeal liquid a second time through a finer sieve or a piece of muslin into a large jug. Add half a cup of Drambuie or fine Scotch, a tablespoon of honey and half a cup of cream to the oatmeal liquid. Combine the ingredients using a wire whisk and pour into a sterilized bottle.

Bees’ Wine

This is a truly traditional recipe. Bees wine was served at harvest time, and is similar to ginger beer in its preparation. It is a refreshing drink at summer picnics and high teas.

Start by bringing 32 fl oz of water to the boil, and allowing it to cool. Put one cup of barley into a wide-necked bottle or large jug and pour on the water.

Add two tablespoons of sugar and a tablespoon of ginger. You can also add the squeezed juice of two lemons for extra flavor.

Cap the bottle or cover the jug with a cloth and leave it until the “bees” appear and move about. As you drink the Bees’ Wine, add more boiled cooled water to top it up, along with another teaspoon of sugar and sprinkle of ginger.

To keep the `bees’ alive, add more barley now and then.


Kirsch is the German word for cherries, and this delicious liquor is still made at home by many European families today. You will need only the best, cleanest and most plump and juicy cherries for this. This recipe is quite easy but aging the Kirsch takes a year.

You will need two pounds of cherries, one pound of sugar and a bottle of vodka. Start by washing and preparing the cherries. Remove the stalks and the stones and put a layer of cherries at the bottom of a clean, sterilized container that has a tightly fitting lid. Add a layer of sugar and continue layering the cherries and sugar until you have used them all. Leave overnight in the fridge so that the sugar can soak into the cherry juices.

Next day pour the vodka over the sugar and cherry mixture, seal it tightly with the lid and store in a cool dark place for six months. Every day give the container a shake but do not remove the lid.

At the end of six months, strain off the liquid, and pour into sterilized liqueur bottles. Store for another six months.


This delicious orange flavored liqueur originated on the Caribbean island of Curacao. It’s a little quicker to make than Kirsch and with its spicy flavor, it is a fabulous drink for Christmas celebrations.

Start by peeling four lemons and four oranges (make sure there is no white pith left) and chopping into small pieces. Remove all pips. Squeeze out the juice and put the juice, with finely pared pieces of lemon and orange rind, into a sterilized container with a tight lid. Add one cinnamon stick, five cloves and one bottle of vodka to the fruit, and stir in three cups of fine sugar.

Seal the container and store in a cool dark place for a month. Strain the contents through a sieve and pour into sterilized liqueur bottles. Store for at least another month.


A favorite at any kind of celebration, Advocaat is a sweet, warming liquor made with egg yolks. Sprinkle with powdered nutmeg for a delicious egg nog.

To start, you will need half a cup of fine sugar and one vanilla pod. Bury the vanilla pod in the sugar and leave for a day so that the vanilla flavor can infuse through the sugar. (Alternatively you can use half a cup of commercial vanilla sugar). Add a cup of water to the sugar and bring to the boil. Simmer just until the sugar is dissolved.

Separate the yolks of six eggs (you can make meringues with the whites) and beat them well. Let the sugar liquid cool but do not let it get cold. Add the hot liquid to the egg yolks very slowly and carefully and mix until well combined. Stir in a half bottle of vodka and pour into sterilized liqueur bottles. Store for at least a week.

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