Make or Buy: Strawberry Liqueur

Make or Buy: Strawberry Liqueur // stirandstrain.comWe are currently running through a pint of strawberries every few days at our house. Regardless of the weather outside, it doesn’t really feel like summer to me until the berries start rolling in. As per usual, I overbuy and then have to look for ways other than just straight eating them. So, for this month’s Make or Buy, we’re looking at strawberry liqueur!

Make or Buy: Strawberry Liqueur // stirandstrain.comStrawberry liqueur is super versatile, and I think especially tasty during the summer, but also nice to have on hand as summer turns towards fall. You can splash it into some club soda, flavor a multitude of cocktails, but my most favorite way is to use it in a Margarita (because of course!). If you make it, please let me know how you use YOUR bottle!

Make or Buy: Strawberry Liqueur // stirandstrain.comTo Buy: G.E. Massenez Creme a la Fraise des Bois

  • Pros:
    • Readily available online and in stores
    • Long shelf life (6+ months)
    • Consistent flavor and color
  • Cons:
    • Muted strawberry flavor and color
    • Cannot change viscosity or sweetness level
    • Alcohol is more pronounced than strawberry flavor

Make or Buy: Strawberry Liqueur // stirandstrain.comTo Make: Strawberry Liqueur

  • Pros:
    • Short wait time to make
    • Fresh strawberry flavor and strong strawberry aroma
    • Bright, beautiful color
    • Can adjust sweetness levels
  • Cons:
    • You must make the liqueur
    • Not immediately available
    • Flavor and color may not be consistent
    • Bad batch of strawberries can ruin flavor of liqueur

Make or Buy: Strawberry Liqueur // stirandstrain.comAnd how do they compare in a cocktail? Well, of course I had to try both liqueurs out in my Strawberry Margarita recipe. Usually I would also add fresh strawberries in, but since I was testing out to compare side by side with the liqueurs I left them out (but I do highly suggest adding a few slices and muddling them in!). The store bought liqueur had a strong strawberry taste and slightly spicy flavor added to the Margarita. The color was significantly darker as well. The homemade liqueur Margarita was lighter in flavor, color, and body. Not necessarily a bad thing, just different. Both were definitely strawberry in aroma but each one on opposite ends of flavor and color.

Make or Buy: Strawberry Liqueur // stirandstrain.com

Strawberry Liqueur

1 pint (16 ounces) strawberries, roughly chopped
1-3/4 ounces vodka
2 cups sugar
1 cup water

  • Combine the strawberries and vodka in an airtight jar. Shake to combine and let sit for three days in a cool, dark place. After three days, strain through fine cheesecloth or a nut bag (my preferred way!) and make sure all small bits are removed. Discard strawberries.
  • Next, make the rich syrup by combining sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir constantly until sugar is dissolved and let the mixture come to a boil and immediately remove from the heat. Let cool to room temperature and combine with the strawberry liquid. Let sit an additional day to meld. Then liqueur is ready to use. Store in a cool, dry place or refrigerator up to three months.

Strawberry Margarita

1-1/2 ounces tequila blanco
3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1 ounce strawberry liqueur
salt for rim
strawberry slices for garnish, optional

First, squeeze your lime juice and set aside. Using the spent lime shell, rub around the outside rim of the glass and roll rim in salt. Set glass aside. In a mixing glass filled 2/3 with ice, combine, tequila, lime juice and strawberry liqueur. Shake 20 seconds and strain into prepared glass. Optionally add strawberry slices to glass to garnish.