We came back from our honeymoon and not even 24 hours after our return we were already craving, well, EVERYTHING we’d been consuming for the past two weeks. In the morning we longed for a fluffy mound of sheep’s milk ricotta and homemade jam on our toast, lunch just wasn’t the same without just-picked, still hot from the sun tomatoes and a bottle of Primitivo (especially without the Primitivo), and Dinner… let’s not even get in to that! I might cry.
A quirky local treat we enjoyed to no end were the house made Liquore’s served as a digestive after dinner. The style varied depending on the region and town with Limoncello (lemon) and Rosolio (rose petals) the indulgence of choice in the area of our home base in San Vito Dei Normani and Genziana (root of the Genziana flower) in Anversa Degli Abruzzi. Oh Genziana I miss you so... I loved these after dinner treats and decided to try my hand at them when we got home. While we were in Alberobello (an amazing town filled with Trulli - little round stone houses) I came across a little recipe book of Liquore’s and Dolci (desserts) from the area. Lo and behold - there was my moonshine waiting to be made - Liquore al Basilico! I kept my fingers crossed that our basil plants would still be alive on our return and dreamed of a late summer sip of basil deliciousness. Late summer - ha! I didn’t exactly focus on the 75 day maceration period. It looks like we’ll be enjoying it when the first snow falls!
Thanks to our friend’s dutiful watering (even during a mandatory evacuation for the hurricane!), the basil plants were indeed waiting for us, leaves and all, when we got back. I was able to harvest about 4 cups of basil leaves - not exactly the heaping 120 grams called for in my little cookbook. I edited the recipe a bit and plan on substituting the sugar in the recipe for honey once the time comes and possibly reducing the amount. Here’s what I have so far:
- 1 750ml bottle grain alcohol
- 35g (about 4 cups) fresh clean basil leaves (must not have any water droplets still on them)
Pour the grain alcohol into a large canning jar and place in a small pot of water over low heat until alcohol is warmed (be careful - this stuff is super flammable).
Remove from heat and add the basil leaves to the jar. Cover and cool to room temperature. Place in a dark cool space and stir every 2 days for 75 days
I’ll give an update when it’s time to bottle! In the meantime you can give the original recipe a try if you’d like. You can find the recipe below.
Liquore al Basilico di Alberobello
Ingredients: 120 gr. fresh basil leaves - 1/2 liter water - 400 gr. sugar - 250 gr. grain alcohol
Instructions: Lightly heat the alcohol and then immerse the basil leaves (in the heated alcohol) in a large bowl. Cover and let rest in a cool and dark place for 75 days, mixing every other day. Once ready prepare a syrup with the water and sugar. Filter the basil infusion, eliminating all leaves, and add the sugar syrup mixing well. Filter one last time and then bottle in containers with air tight seals.
Have you ever tried making making a flavored alcohol? How did it go?