The classic citrusy Italian liqueur limoncello is always a crowd-pleaser and rarely fails to impress. But bartenders around the country are making several other delicious liqueurs as well.
Irish cream liqueur has its own devoted fan club. If you're a fan of Baileys or similar, try whipping up your own with this quick and simple recipe that requires no infusing time.
If anise-flavored spirits such as absinthe, ouzo or sambuca are more your style, whip up a batch of fennelcello. It was created by bartender David Welch at Lincoln Restaurant in Portland, Ore. and is a wonderful digestif served freezing cold.
Or try producing another Italian favorite, nocino. This spiced walnut liqueur is typically made with unripe green nuts, which are a bit hard to find. Fortunately, our recipe, from Mariena Mercer Boarini, created when she was the head bartender at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, calls for regular toasted walnuts instead, along with spices you can buy at any supermarket.
Alternatively, take a cue from the now-closed two-Michelin-star Chicago restaurant Graham Elliot, where diners were treated to a chilled shot of basilcello as a palate cleanser between savory and sweet courses.
1. Irish Cream Liqueur
You’re surely familiar with store-bought versions of Irish cream liqueur, such as Baileys. Believe it or not, it couldn't be easier to make it at home. Simply throw whiskey, sweetened condensed milk, heavy cream, instant coffee granules and chocolate syrup into a blender and give it all a whirl.
This bittersweet liqueur is originally of Italian provenance, and is flavored with walnuts and various spices. This version, which calls for vodka, maple syrup, sugar, walnuts, orange zest, cinnamon sticks, cloves, cardamom pods, vanilla beans and star anise pods, require's a month's steeping time, but once you add all the ingredients into a jar, it only requires time, not effort, until it's ready to enjoy.
If you like anise-flavored spirits such as sambuca or absinthe, you’ll love this fennel-infused liqueur that's perfect as a digestivo. It requires just vodka, fennel and simple syrup; combine the three and let the mixture sit for four days, and you'll have a bottle of delicious and flavorful liqueur.
This sweet and herbaceous infusion is easy and relatively quick to make, with just 24 hours of steeping time for the combination of Everclear (or similar), basil, simple syrup, water, and a bit of citric acid.