Edible gifts are lovely, and drinkable gift even more so! In New Zealand most edible homemade presents seem to be jams and chutneys, but not enough liqueurs (in Italy home-made liqueurs are traditional), so making homemade liqueurs gives me a point of difference! One of the first challenges for me, living here, is that you cannot buy the alcohol to make your own liqueurs, so I have to use grappa (sometimes vodka, but grappa is better). Fortunately I have a lot of grappa :-)
I made this a few months ago, with the roses from my garden, which are organic and not sprayed, so they can be used for cooking.
I made jam in the past, and syrup, and cakes... for the liqueurs it is actually better to use the rose fruit, but it is not season for those.
So I picked some petals, very carefully. I would have picked more but the bees and bumble bees started flying around me, obviously upset by this big competitor who was taking away their meal!
I had 200 g of petals
I put the petals in a sterilized jar, and melted 200 g of sugar in 400 ml of water.
I poured the hot syrup over the roses and stored the jar away for two days, in a dark cupboard.
Actually, the best way would be to put the petals straight into the alcohol for a month, but I am rushing here, I wanted and instant liqueur!
After two days the syrup had a beautiful pink colour, and the smell was amazing!!!
Strain the petals through a fine cloth, and hung it to drip, like for a jelly. And as for a jelly do not squeeze the bag, or the syrup may get cloudy. Let it drip overnight. When I make jelly I hung the dripping bag with a broom handle over two chairs, but here the quantity was so small...
I improvised and hanged it over my kitchen mixer (btw, this is a very new purchase, and it changed my life!!!) Collect all the juice. I had 400 ml. You can squeeze the remaining petals over another cup, and make a sweet cup of rose tea, yum!
Now to my distillery! I decided to do a 50% alcohol, using a 40° grappa. So I got 800 ml of liqueur, which I put in pretty bottles.
One is a present for my friend Sue, who loves these kinds of things. Also, when she visited me in Italy last summer she tried a rose liqueur and loved it. A good gift for her, I think!
Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©