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Roasted hazelnut liqueur

For the longest time, the only hazelnut liqueur I had access to was Frangelico’s. It’s okay, but the almond and herbal components interfered with the toasty, rich hazelnuttiness I desire. There are others, but I hadn’t been able to find them in stores. With a large bag of skinned hazelnuts in the freezer, and some tips from Jeremy F., I decided to make my own. And it is good.

Hazelnut liqueur, filtered & bottled


  • 8 ounces (1/2 pound) hazelnuts (already blanched/skinned)
  • 1 ounce vanilla sugar
  • 1 1/2 ounces maple sugar
  • 1 1/2 ounces light brown sugar
  • 2 ounces sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups vodka


  1. Roast the hazelnuts until golden brown, about 5 to 15 minutes in an oven at 350ºF degrees. Stir a couple times to evenly roast the nuts. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature. They might look oily, but that’s fine (flavors in there!).
  2. Roughly chop the nuts, either with a sharp chef’s knife, or as I’m likely to do: Place in zippy bag, partially seal, and crush them with a rolling pin (not into fine grains, though, still roughly). Pour into a 1-liter sized jar.
  3. Add all the sugars on top of the hazelnuts. Pour in the vodka. Give a good stir with a large spoon.
  4. Cap off and allow to steep in a cool, dark place (closet, pantry) for 14 to 25 days. Start taste-testing at around 14 days (and also to dissolve any remaining sugar bits), to see if the nutty flavor is to your liking. I usually repeat testing every 3 to 5 days.
  5. Filtering the liqueur: This took quite a bit of time! First I poured everything though a quadruple-layer of butter cloth, a more finely woven cheesecloth. (I saved the nuts and vanilla, which I puréed and made into a cake. 🙂
  6. Pour the liqueur into a jug or bottle that can be easily sealed (i.e., spill-proof). Store in the fridge until solids and oils separate—this might take a few days or up to a week, since the liqueur might be somewhat viscous.
  7. Remove any floating solids and oils: I used an oral medication syringe. This step could be better optimized, I admit, so I’m open to other alternatives that do not filter out too much at the cost of flavor. The key is to remove as much of the water-soluble solids that float to the top, as they may become a mold hazard. I don’t worry so much about stuff that has sunk; as long as there’s enough alcohol and sugar, and low temperature storage. I also don’t mind if there’s a little bit of oil floating; it’s very tasty, and you’ll soon drink it up with the first few servings. I also try to wipe the inside of the bottle’s neck with vodka-moistened towel, to remove any gunk stuck there. I use vodka for any additional rinsing that might be needed, such as the syringe. I had to do this particular step a couple times. Prolonged, indeed.
  8. The liqueur was wonderful after I had done the secondary filtration(s). I’m sure its flavor and smoothness will only improve with time.

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