On our first (blind) date, when my gardener took me home, I invited him in and offered him some homemade cranberry liqueur. Over the years, we've made a few different liqueurs - irish cream, creme de menthe, cranberry and, coffee liqueur being the one we make most often.
The simplest homemade liqueurs are pretty much just vodka and sugar along with other whatever flavoring you're looking for.
This recipe was adapted from David Leite's book, The New Portuguese Table. His original recipe calls for a grated bar of good chocolate and I've made that version before, but when I went to make this again, I didnt have a chocolate bar and didn't want to go to the store just to get one, so did without.
It couldn't be easier... you put all the ingredients into a container, shake it up and let it sit for 10 days. It will curdle, separate, and in general will look like something you'd want to toss out. Don't! A little patience (and trust) and you will have a delicious liqueur in the end.
At the end of 10 days, I strained the concoction through a fine mesh sieve, which took care of the lemons and some of the milk solids. Then I lined the sieve with coffee filters and ran the mixture through them three times (each time with a new filter). It takes a long time for the liquid to drip through the coffee filters, so again, a little patience is needed. You're left with all the milk solids in the filter and the result is a clear, pale amber liquid. Pour that into a clean bottle and enjoy!
Leaving out the chocolate bar in this recipe made it much more lemony, though not in a sour way. I can't say if I prefer the liqueur made with or without chocolate... I like them both - they're just a little different.
The next time I make this I'm going to make it with chocolate and oranges, which is a favorite flavor combination of mine!