Inside the Kitchen Door - Fennel Liqueur

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In this episode, Chef Andrew Lanier creates a simple fennel blossom liqueur. Wonderfully aromatic, homemade fennel liqueur is easy to make and a less complex substitute for absinthe. A squeeze from a fat lemon garnish adds a bit of complexity and balance to a refreshing libation.

Recipe

Ingredients

Fennel Blossom Liqueur
  • 1 750 ml bottle premium vodka
  • 4 oz fennel blossoms
  • 1/2 cup sugar

    place fennel blossoms in a glass container with a tight closing lid

    add sugar and vodka and seal container, shake briefly to combine

    place container in water bath at a constant 175 degrees F for two hours

    remove from water bath and let cool

    fine strain liqueur into suitable storage container

    To Serve
  • pour over ice and garnish with lemon peel

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    Comments
    Natalie - The Liquid Muse 2 Mar 2010
    7:53 am

    Really cool Andrew!!  That looks amazing.

    blair frodelius 2 Mar 2010
    1:27 pm

    Andrew,

    Would this work with a smaller amount of dried fennel?  Also, I’m assuming there is no way to reuse the bottle you filled with fresh fennel?

    Blair
    http://goodspiritsnews.spaces.live.com

    Andrew Lanier 2 Mar 2010
    2:49 pm

    Blair,
    Though you can make a liqueur with only fennel seeds, it will not have the vibrancy and intensity of a liqueur made with the blossoms.  The blossoms are astonishingly fragrent, and full of complex and volatile essential oils that the seeds do not carry.  (These oils are what cause this liqueur to louche).  Also, the chrolorphyll and sweet pollen from the fresh plant give the liqueur its color.  Look for the blossoms to appear on the plant in mid july-early august.  The plant grows wild, and is very widespread, even in urban areas.  I’ve even seen it growing roadside on the Alaskan Way Viaduct here in Seattle.
    If you’re itching to try something similar this spring, you can infuse a bottle of light blended scotch with fresh heather blossoms.  (Pick off just the flowers from the plant.)  This is great for light, effervescent scotch cocktails.
    The bottle can be reused; after removing the spent fennel with chopsticks or long tweezers and washing it well.
    Cheers!

    Jon 8 Mar 2010
    5:39 pm

    Incredible! I’m fascinated by this. Is there any other effective way to make this liqueur (or infuse other spirits) without having access to an immersion circulator?

    Andrew Lanier 10 Mar 2010
    5:51 pm

    Jon,
    Yes, it is very possible to do without an immersion circulator.  Before I started using the circulator, I would use a large canning kettle and simmer the jars stovetop at ~140 degrees for an hour.  You need to make sure that there is a wire rack on the bottom of the kettle, so that the glass doesn’ t come into close contact with the heat source.
    I used this method to make a really wonderful spice roasted apple liqueur with an Armagnac base.  This method works great for ingredients that benefit from the heat, or do not suffer from it.  (Apples, spices, quince, and dried fruits are wondeful.  Things like peaches or melon are too delicate, and have a “cooked” flavor if produced this way).
    However, the cold freeze method works great for juicy, delicate items.

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