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Apricot brandy with orange and vanilla

It’s strange given my love of apricots that I had not made apricot liqueur. Last summer I finally did, using an inexpensive brandy from Trader Joe’s, an orange, and some vanilla sugar. I filtered out the fruit solids after steeping for 4 months—using a double layer of fine butter muslin over a fine sieve. The result was still cloudy; I’ve tried using a coffee filter (with the Meyer lemon-ginger liqueur), but that was too slow and too easily clogged up, even after initially going through the butter muslin. I continue to dream of a vacuum-driven filtration system in my kitchen. O:)

What do I use this in? As with the lemon-ginger one, mostly cooking. Great with cooked fruit and sauces needing a fruity sweetness.

apricot brandy, assembledApricot brandy, assembled for steeping.

The resulting taste was good! A bit strong on the orange and brandy side, so perhaps next time I’ll use vodka instead (or a 50%ish mix with brandy), or omit the orange and/or vanilla sugar. Pardon the mix of metric and American-imperial measurements—metric became involved with the liquor (always in metric) and the nice glass jar I got from the store (all from France, hence metric).


  1. 8 to 10 ounces fresh apricots, including seeds from half of the fruits, quartered
  2. zest and juice of 1 orange; I peeled the zest off the orange in wide bands, rather than grated
  3. 2 ounces vanilla sugar
  4. 4 1/2 ounces sugar
  5. 500ml (just over 2 cups) Napoleon brandy


Put the ingredients in a 1-liter glass jar. Allow to sit for at least 3 months, preferably more. Stir midway through the steeping period. As mentioned, my batch took about 4 months. Test after 3 months; if it’s not flavorful enough, check again in another 3 to 6 weeks. Filter out solids, and decant into a 750ml bottle (European fruit sodas with rubber flip-tops are nicely reusable). I store the liqueur in the refrigerator since its cloudiness might otherwise reduce shelf life at room temperature.

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