How to make a carrot cake liqueur

2013-10-13 11.51.09It was Puhoi Valley’s limited release Carrot Cake yoghurt that, whilst melting harmoniously in my mouth, gave me the inspiration to turn the flavours of carrot cake into a liqueur.

After all (and I say this to possible resistance), carrot cake is the best cake.

A quick Google search revealed Mrs. Portions’ Potables had made one that looked pretty darned good, and it was here that I derived and modified a recipe. The result was about 4L of carrot cake liqueur which I gave out as Christmas gifts to friends and colleagues.

The initial plan for the carrot cake liqueur was that you’d pour it over a cream cheese icing, grate some walnut on top and spoon it out out of a short glass. Feedback from friends was that it was a bit sweet, so perhaps pouring it over yoghurt would be better.

Whilst I’m very happy with the way this turned out, this is by no means a perfect recipe. It was the first and only batch. I’ve put my recommendations and comments at the end and this listed recipe is untested but should still be fine (I used a much higher proof alcohol since I had access to it).

What you need: (makes 4L carrot cake liqueur)

  • 500g Carrots, grated
  • 2kg Carrots, juiced
  • 220g granny smith apple (3x), grated
  • 100g sultanas, chopped finely
  • 60g finely chopped or blended walnuts
  • 2.5L high proof neutral spirit (e.g. vodka. The higher the alcohol content, the better)
  • 10g cinnamon
  • 10g nutmeg
  • 10g allspice
  • 700g white sugar

Equipment

  • large mason jar
  • wooden spoon and potato masher
  • cheese cloth
  • large stock pot
  • paper filter and funnel

Method

Part One. The initial Infusion

2013-10-13 12.12.02Grate 500g carrots, 3x granny smith apples (220g). Put into a mason jar

Finely chop 60g walnuts and 100g sultanas. Put into the mason jar.

Add 2.5L vodka (assuming it is 40% alc/vol. This will give you 800ml actual alcohol which, when diluted with your syrup and carrot juice at the end will give you a 20% alc/vol. liqueur. Adjust accordingly with what percentage alcohol spirit you managed to acquire)

Muddle, mash and stir this mixture as much as possible to expose the ingredients to the alcohol.

Seal and leave for two weeks.2013-10-13 12.38.38

Part Two. The sugar and spice syrup

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Make a spice and sugar syrup by boiling 700ml water in a pot and then adding 700g white sugar.

Let the sugar dissolve completely, and then add 10g cinnamon, 10g nutmeg and 10g allspice.

Stir through thoroughly for 5 minutes and then turn off the heat and let cool.

Once warm (after an hour or so of cooling) add 750ml to your mason jar with all the other chunky treats and let sit for another two weeks.

 

Part Three. The Gross bit 

You need to separate the liquids from the solids. This requires you to sieve the contents through a cheese cloth and then through paper filters.

Pour the contents into a cheese cloth into a collection vessel e.g. pot.

Tie it up or hang it above the collection vessel and once it stops dripping, squeeze the bag of goodness with your hands.

In your collection vessel you’ll have a slightly oily, viscous liquid that will separate if left be. And in your bag you’ll have a horrible carrot brain formation which you can put in your compost or… make an actual cake with.

2013-10-28 12.26.06

Pour all of the liquid through a paper filter. This process takes hours and hours (around 8) but you can leave it to drip through overnight depending on the size of your funnel and paper.

At the end you’ll have a beautiful clear liquid at the end that has no carrot flavour left in it but a sweet, spicy liqueur kind of flavour.

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And so, you need to add 800ml carrot juice back into your mixture, which should result in an end mixture of 20% alc./vol. (adjust accordingly: Measure the volume of liquid you have and if you put in 2.5L of vodka at 40%abv. then it has .8LAL (Litres of Alcohol). Add the quantity of carrot juice that gets it to around 20-25%)

2Kg cleaned carrots should be enough to get 800ml carrot juice.

Bottle. Shake before serving.

 

After some effort: A Carrot Cake Liqueur

2014-01-26 11.19.48

 

Commentary

  • Just one batch but I think it turned out well. Definitely carrot cake.
  • Higher proof spirits absorb more flavours. I used a 99.8% food grade ethanol which is pretty much the highest you can get (because I have a license to obtain it). With vodka if you work out the amount of actual alcohol (a unit called LAL) then you can add an appropriate amount of other liquid to bring it back to your desired percentage. e.g. in 1L of 40% vodka, you have .4LAL, so you’d need to add an additional litre of liquid to get this down to 20% (.4/2=.20) and so forth.
  • It might be worth trying a carrot cake liqueur that is 25% abv. to lessen the natural sweetness of the carrot. You need the 1:1 sugar syrup for consistency.
  • After the mixture was filtered through a cheese cloth, it had an oily layer. I tried to freeze the liquid overnight in the hopes that the oil from the walnut would freeze but the alcohol wouldn’t and so i’d be able to scrape off the oil and that would be it. Turns out you do need a paper filter because it’s not oil, it’s carrot froth. I didn’t intend to add the extra carrot juice at the end but the liqueur lacked carrot. I still felt it’s important to have it in the initial infusion.