How to Make Loquat Liqueur

Honey bees love loquat blossom nectar as a winter food source.

Honey bees love loquat blossom nectar as a winter food source.

Our loquat harvest was incredibly small last summer, and something special seemed to be required. Rather than make loquat jam with so little fruit, I made liqueur this year, using the entire harvest – 4 1/3 pounds of fruit.

Liqueur making takes patience and it felt a long way from summer when I finally bottled the loquat liqueur this chilly morning. Small though my sips were, I can say it’s one of my favorite liqueurs that we’ve made so far. The flavor is subtle, but sweet and well-rounded.

I’ve started using shochu, or Japanese vodka, for most of my liqueurs. It doesn’t have the alcoholic punch of vodka (it’s 48 proof, compared to 80 proof vodka), and its very slight sweetness makes it compatible with most fruit. Read on for my original recipe and notes.

Loquat Liqueur ingredients

• 4 1/3 pounds loquats, washed, flower end removed, halved and pitted to yield 2 pounds of fruit

• 1 cup sugar

• 1 large handful of green coriander sprigs

• 1 750ml bottle shochu

Loquat Liqueur directions

1. Put fruit, sugar and coriander sprigs in jar and add shochu. Shake until sugar is dissolved.

2. Store in a cool, dark place, and continue to shake occasionally over 6 months. Discoloration of the fruit is normal, but watch for mold (I didn’t have any problem).

3. After 6 months, secure cheesecloth to a container, and strain liqueur through cheesecloth. Allow fruit solids to sit in cheesecloth overnight.

4. In morning, remove cheesecloth and gently squeeze into the container.

5. Bottle liqueur.

Additional tips for homemade liqueur

1. In my original recipe, I used a medium handful of green coriander sprigs (cilantro plants gone to seed, before seed dries). I’ve increased the measurement here because I can’t really taste the coriander in the liqueur, and I’d like to. Next year, I’ll increase the amount of coriander. You can leave out the coriander, or substitute a different spice or herb.

2. I actually used one bottle of shochu plus about 1/8 of another bottle, which was leftover from some other liqueur project. Obviously, you can adjust the quantity of shochu and sugar, depending on how much loquat fruit you have on hand. When I first started making liqueurs, I aimed for a 2:1 ratio of fruit to sugar (by weight). I’ve since been experimenting with less sugar, and with honey also. I then add alcohol to fill whatever jar I am using.

3. Be sure the lid to the jar has a good seal. If it doesn’t, add plastic wrap on the inside of the band before closing. This helps prevent mold, though it isn’t common for mold to form in the presence of alcohol.

4. You can use cheesecloth or any similar type of cloth or bag to strain the finished liqueur. The tighter the weave, the better: this helps strain out the sediment.

5. I let my liqueurs steep for six months. When I made my very first plum liqueur, the recipe called for six months. The results were awesome. I’ve followed this timeframe ever since. You might be able to subtract some of this time for other fruits, but I wouldn’t with loquats. They have a very subtle flavor, and the timing allows for maximum flavor extraction.

Just before straining.

Just before straining.

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This is what loquats and coriander look like after six months in shochu.

Loquats and coriander after six months in shochu. We usually discard the fruit after straining.

 We make lots of other yummy home alcohols, and you can too! For instructions on how to make plum wine, check out our post, Homemade Plum Wine Results; for additional tips and tricks (this year’s batch is based on that first recipe, but is turning out much tastier!) check out Homemade Plum Wine, 2013; to learn about the hands-down yummiest plum liqueur on the face of the earth, take a look at Not-Traditional Umeshu.  

12 Responses to How to Make Loquat Liqueur

  1. This sounds fantastic! I’ve been looking for a way to preserve our loquats (aside from dehydrating them, which is delicious too), and I’ll definitely try this next summer. I’m especially intrigued by the use of green coriander!

    • Ooh, dried loquats! I don’t know why we haven’t tried that before. Do you leave the skins on when you dry them?

      We have had fun playing around with herbs in our liqueurs. In some cases, we’ve found that you really have to add a lot in order to taste it in the finished liqueur. In other cases, like my blueberry lavender and blueberry cardamom liqueurs this year, I actually fished out the herbs/spices midway through because they seemed so potent.

      • Sorry to take so long to reply – I only just now saw your response, for some reason! I do leave the skins on (ditto with just about everything I dehydrate) simply because it’s too much a pain in the butt to peel them after already standing for such a long time removing the seeds and that hard skin thing between the seeds and the fruit.

        • Good to hear that they’re worth drying with their skins. Like you, I can’t quite bear the thought of peeling loquats. With other dried fruits, I’ve found that (although I’m sure we lose nutritional value) I prefer them without their peels. Apples and persimmons are two examples.

  2. What is the shelf life of the homemade Loquat Liqueur?

    • Hi Carol–Apologies for not responding sooner. I don’t have a definitive answer for you in terms of liqueur shelf life, but my guess is that it will last a good long time (indefinitely?). We never refrigerate our liqueurs, and I think the alcohol does a good job of preserving them. We’ve been making liqueurs for a few years now, and our oldest bottles are still perfectly good.

  3. This is great! We have a bumper crop right now so I guess I know what I will be doing this weekend. Thank you so much!

  4. Kat Brotherton

    Do you seal your jars using canning methods (boiling, pressure-sealing)? Or do you just hand-tighten the lids?

    One of our jars lids just “pinged!” and buckled after a month of soaking in a dark cupboard, and now I’m all paranoid about botulism…. :/

    • Hi, Kat. I assume you are referring to sealing the jars while the fruit and liquor infuses? For this stage, you just need to hand-tighten the lid. It is prudent to open the jar(s) occasionally to allow any pressure that builds up to release. But the infusion process is not a fermentation, or shouldn’t be. To store, we use the vodka or shochu liquor bottle or any jar or bottle with a screw-on or snap-lock lid. You shouldn’t need to worry about botulism, because the alcohol, in theory, is anti-septic. Good luck!

  5. great help

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