Not long after mastering the art of making tinctures with herbs, I started acquiring quite a supply of little herb-infused-alcohol on my shelves. What to do with them? I know you can add tinctures to body/beauty products like creams, lotions, body scrubs, facial toners etc. Also, you can use them as part of your kitchen first aid kit. But with my love of food, I wanted to find a more tasty way to use the tinctures.
Enter Rosemary Gladstar. Her book is brilliant if you’re inspired by Harry Potter’s Potions class, and want to start concocting things in your own kitchen.
I adapted this recipe for a chocolate liqueur that uses the herb ‘damiana’ (ok, admittedly, I had to go buy this herb especially for this project, but it just sounded too delicious to pass up!)
Damiana is a restorative herb that is a gentle anti-depressant, helps you deal with stress/anxiety, and is also supposed to be an aphrodisiac! Sounds perfect for an after dinner drink.
The key with liquors is that they just take time. Letting them steep and mellow really improves the flavor. Also, I learned again that packaging is SO important. Straight out of the measuring cup this was tasty … but once I bottled it nicely, and added a name and a label, somehow it just tastes better to me. Yikes, I’m really a child of the advertising age!
Chocolate Temptation Liqueur
(Adapted from Rosemary Gladstar’s Damiana Chocolate Liqueur)
1 oz. dried damiana leaves
2 cups brandy
1 1/2 cups filtered water
1 cup honey
Put damiana leaves and brandy in a covered jar, let them soak for 5 days. Shake daily, if you think of it. Strain, reserving the liquid. (You just made a tincture!)
Soak these same leaves in the water for 3 days, strain and reserve the liquid.
Over low heat, warm the infused water and stir the honey in until it’s dissolved. Remove from heat, add infused alcohol.
Add a splash of rosewater and vanilla extract. Pour into a clean, pretty bottle (I usually fill bottles with boiling water for a few minutes first, as a sort of semi-sterilization). Label the bottle. Let it sit for one month or longer, for the flavors to develop.
To serve, take 1 cup of liqueur and add 1/2 cup of chocolate syrup and a splash more rosewater. Serve in little cups straight or over ice. Yum!
Being lazy, I mixed the entire bottle’s contents of liquor with the syrup and rosewater at one time, and then rebottled it. I think I decreased the shelf life of the liquor by doing this – will let you know! The liquor mix (without chocolate syrup) should last quite awhile, at least a year.
Have you tried making flavored liquors at home? I invented a few more that are still steeping, will share the results soon (a hawthorn berry and cinnamon in vodka, and another with dandelion and burdock in brandy). Happy experimenting!