Fruit Liqueurs recipes


Wal writes ... 'Nera Sambuca' is produced from an infusion of elderberries (Sambuca nigra), anise, licorice and other herbal flavorings. The white 'Romana Sambuca' is basically an 'Anisette' or a sweet 'Raki' or 'Ouzo'. The original black Sambuca liqueur is more intriguing. Elderberries, anise, licorice and lemon are all that I can find regarding its ingredients. The dark purple (almost black) color is probably derived from elderberries in a manner similar to Pacharan and Sloe Gin. The following is an attempt to copy the original black version - Liquore alla Sambuca, (e.g. Opal Nera Sambuca):

Black Sambuca
  • 1 litre alcohol (40%abv)
  • 1 litre (4 cups) of ripe elderberries
  • 1/8 tsp anise essential oil (15 drops or use equivalent pure aniseed extract from Supermarket)
  • 1/8 tsp pure licorice root extract
  • strip of lemon peel
  • 2 cups of granulated sugar (can be in form of invert syrup)
  • 1 tsp glycerine (for smoothness)
Macerate the elderberries in alcohol until it becomes a characteristic dark color, then add sugar, anise, licorice, lemon peel and macerate for 30 days. Strain.

For a white (bianco) Sambuca (e.g. Romana Sambuca):

White Sambuca
  • 1 litre of alcohol (40%abv)
  • 1/8 tsp anise essential oil (15 drops or use equivalent pure aniseed extract from Supermarket)
  • 2 cups of granulated sugar (can be in form of invert syrup)
  • 1 tsp glycerine (for smoothness)
Add anise oil to alcohol and shake vigorously to dissolve. Add sugar and glycerine.

Sambuca goes well when added to a short black (espresso) coffee (caffe corretto). There is also a ritual of floating several coffee beans in a shot glass of Sambuca and lighting them. I saw this done - it cracked an expensive shot glass!

Anise Liqueur (This possibly is similar to the commercial Sardinian 'Yellow Villacidro' which is 40%abv and 15% sugar, colored yellow with saffron.)
  • 40 g green aniseed
  • 20 mm (3/4 inch) cinnamon stick
  • 5 coriander seeds
  • 1 litre alcohol 90%bv
  • 500 ml water
  • 400 g sugar
Macerate spices in alcohol for 8 weeks. Strain. Add sugar syrup.

'Liquore Galliano' apparently has 30 botanicals, but among its flavors is a strong presence of anise and vanilla. Came across an Italian recipe which might bear some resemblence to the commercial product - worth a go. The actual 'Liquore Galliano' is made by macerating the botanicals in alcohol, and then redistilling. It's a useful liqueur for cocktails (e.g. 'Harvey Wallbanger').

Anise Liqueur
  • 1 litre alcohol 90%bv
  • 500 ml water
  • 1 kg sugar
  • peel of 1 lemon
  • 100 g aniseed
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • piece of cinnamon
Macerate botanicals in alcohol for 2 weeks. Strain. Add sugar syrup. For a yellow color (Like 'Galliano') use saffron. Age for 4 weeks.

Anise-coffee Liqueur
Sambucca, an Italian aniseed based liqueur is often added to espresso coffee. Saw a suggestion to make a liqueur combining both these ingredients. Here is my interpretation:
  • 750ml of vodka
  • 3 tbsp. anise seeds
  • 6 tbsp. freshly ground coffee (or instant coffee)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2-1 cup(s) water
Add aniseed and coffee to sugar syrup and then add to the vodka. Steep (macerate) for at least 4 weeks. Strain or decant. Serve garnished with a strip of lemon zest.


Zammu is a anise flavored liqueur from Sicily. Sambuca is the name used in central Italy for a similar liqueur. Sambuca is Italian for elderberry (sambucus nigra), and although elderflowers are used as a botanical in central Italy, the predominent flavor is anise. It is believed zammu has an Arabic origin, and originally referred to an anise flavored water-based drink, since the ruling Arabs in Sicily were not allowed to drink alcohol.

During my lunch break I came across a recipe for zmmu in a cookbook dealing with Sicily. It is also a good indication of the amount of botanicals required to make a Greek ouzo as they are very similar. Your final product would need to be not less than 40% to prevent the anise causing cloudiness. You could also macerate the botanicals in warm alcohol for 24 hours and then redistill to get a very clear product, or you could use aniseed essential oil or pure extract to flavor the alcohol.

There is an article in Italian about zammu at and

  • 1 litre alcohol (40%)
  • 3/4 cup aniseed
  • 2 tbsp. coriander
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 strip of orange zest
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 and 1/2 cups sugar
Macerate (steep) botanicals in alcohol for 4 weeks. Filter. Make sugar syrup and when cool add to flavored alcohol.

Sambuca is an Italian anise based liqueur. The name is a corruption of an Arab anise syrup (zammut) from Sicily.

'The Household Cyclopedia of General Information' (1881) recommendation for an 'Aniseed Cordial' (e.g. Sambuca) is to macerate 200g crushed aniseed in 1 litre of 50%abv and then to redistill. The book is on two sites - or

Anisette is a French anise based liqueur with other herbs and spices (as does Ouzo) to give more complexity
A now defunct French site ( there is a recipe for Anisette which scaled down to 1 litre of 50%abv uses the following -


1 L alcohol 50%bv
37.5 g aniseed
0.5 g star anise
10 g fennel seed
10 g coriander
The other following ingredients are I think optional -
10 g sassafras
8 g tea leaves
0.6 g ambrette seeds (Hibiscus abelmoschus)
Macerate and redistill. Add sugar (start with 1 cup/litre).
Mastic Liqueur ( mastika, masticha, mastikha,mastiha)

I came across reference to the use of mastic gum (from Pistacia lentiscus) as a flavoring in Greece (Masticha ouzo, Chios Masticha liqueur, Mastic liqueur of Kalamata), and Bulgaria (Mastika). The liquorice-flavored resin is found only on the Greek island of Chios and is used in the Middle East as a spice, a chewing gum and having anti-bacterial properties, as a medicine for stomach ailments. Often Chios mastic gum is part of the botanicals for ouzo, or it can be crushed and added to the distillate later.

I have not come across any recipes, but a reference mentions Mastic Liqueur as being a Greek brandy based liqueur that is flavored with mastic. There is a non-alcoholic Greek Mastic Syrup (ipovrichio/hypovrychio) which can be used as a basis of formulating a mastic liqueur:

  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • juice 1/2 lemon
  • 1 beaten egg white (used to clarify the boiling syrup)
  • 2 and 1/2 tsp. Chios mastic gum
The mastic gum is crushed with 1/2 tsp sugar and added to the lukewarm syrup. We can modify this for my interpretation of a Mastic Liqueur and Mastic Ouzo using a raw spirit or brandy and ouzo/raki:

Mastic Liqueur
  • 3 cups alcohol (40% abv)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 to 1 and 1/2 cups sugar
  • juice 1/2 lemon
  • 2 and 1/2 tsp crushed Chios mastic gum
Mastic Ouzo/Raki
  • 750 ml ouzo/raki (or flavor vodka with 1 tbsp whole aniseed)
  • 2 tsp Chios mastic gum
  • 1-2 tsp sugar
Crush mastic gum with sugar and add to alcohol

Myrtle Liqueur

Wal writes ..
    A translation of "Ratafia de Myrtilles" from a French site.
    • 1 kg myrtle berries
    • 1 litre alcohol 80%bv
    • 1 kg sugar
    • 700 ml water
    Wash and dry myrtle berries
    Crush into a puree
    Steep in alcohol for 2 months, strain
    Add sugar syrup

    Myrtle Liqueur from a Sardinian site ..
    • 250 g myrtle berries
    • 250 g sugar (one recipe gave half this amount)
    • 350 ml water
    • 350 ml alcohol 95%bv
    Macerate berries in alcohol for 4 weeks. Strain. Add sugar syrup.

Pimento (Allspice) Liqueur

Wal writes ...

    Pimento Liqueur
    • 3/4 tsp crushed/ground pimento berries
    • 1 and 1/2 cups alcohol (40%bv)
    • 1/2 cup sugar syrup
    Steep for 10 days. Strain and filter. Add syrup. Mature for 1-6 months. Dark rum would go well. Spiced rums are traditional in the Carribeans.

Prickly or Cactus Pear Liqueur

Wal writes ...
    In Southern Italy, the fruit of the Opuntia genus cactus (Opuntia ficus-indica) is used extensively. It is even fermented and distilled to produce a liquor. It does not have a high sugar content though - only 4.2%. A liqueur made by infusing the fruit in alcohol is a specialty of southern Italy. In Sardinia where it is known as 'figu morisca' they also add lemon zest to the liqueur. Here is a recipe for the 'Liquore di fico d'india' from an Italian site. The homeland of the cactus pear by the way, is the desert states of the U.S. and Mexico!

    Cactus Pear Liqueur (Liquore di fico d'india)
    • 10 ripe cactus pears
    • 500 ml alcohol 95%bv
    • 500 ml water
    • 400 g sugar
    Peel cactus pears. Steep fruit in alcohol for 10 days. It acquires from the fruit a dark orange to red color. Remove fruit and add sugar syrup. Strain and age for 20 days.

Strawberry Tree Fruit Liqueur

Wal writes ...
    I am interested in rare alcoholic beverages, and those from the European Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo) took some time to track down. The related U.S. cousin, the Madrone is inferior in sweetness and flavor to the European form.
    • English - Arbutus, Strawberry Tree
    • Portuguese - Medronho, Medronheiro
    • Spanish - Madrono (with diacritical mark over the n)
    • French - Arbousier
    • Italian - Corbezzolo, Albatro

    It is an evergreen shrub or small tree of 1-5 metres with dark red fruit of 25 mmm diameter and which weigh between 4-8 grams. It is distributed mainly in the Eastern Mediterranean area, but also occurs as a survivor of the Ice Age in Southern Ireland. The mature fruit contains over 15% sugar and 0.66% malic acid, and because of its high sugar content, the fruit is used to make marmelade and is fermented to make wine which is also distilled to make a clear eau-de-vie. The fruit is also macerated in grappa/orujo to make a liqueur. 'Aguardente de Medronho' or simply 'Medronho' is a spirit unique to the Portuguese Algarve province, where it generally is a product of home distillation and is sold "unofficially". A Portuguese site says that it is produced by fermenting 5 parts of fruit with 1 part water for over 2 weeks and then distilling to a strength of 50%abv. See: The Portuguese 'Brandymel' also from Algarve, is made with medronho sweetened with honey. On the French island of Corsica they make a 'Liqueur a l'Arbouse' and a sweeter 'Creme d'Arbouse'. On the Italian island of Sardinia they make an 'Acquavita di Corbezzolo' similar to the Portuguese 'Aguardente de Medronho', and also a 30%abv liqueur, 'Liquore di Corbezzolo (di Sardegna)' while another distillery makes a 24%abv liqueur called 'Fior di Corbezzolo'. I also came across a Spanish recipe for a 'Licor de Madrono' which looks rather sweet -

    Madrono Liqueur (Strawberry Tree fruit liqueur)
    • 1 kg strawberry tree fruit
    • 1 litre alcohol (50%bv)
    • 250 ml water
    • 0.5 kg to 1 kg sugar
    Wash fruit and place in large glass jar. Dissolve sugar in hot water to make a sugar syrup. Pour alcohol and cold sugar syrup over fruit in jar. Leave to macerate for 6 months. Filter and bottle.

    I have not come across any reference to the fruit of the Strawberry Tree being used to make alcoholic beverages in Ireland, and as it is now also grown in England, there is an interesting source of fermentable fruit for Britain.     This page last modified Tue, 20 Jan 2015 20:51:05 -0800