Anise liqueur is one of two homemade liqueurs I made as gifts this Christmas season. I had a bag of star anise that I picked up at an Asian grocer a few months ago, and I was looking for something to make. It’s easy to make anise liqueur. Wrap the star anise in cheesecloth and steep in alcohol, filter, and mix with simple syrup. I use a fermentation glass jar but Mason jars will also work for steeping. Let the star anise steep for about 4 weeks. The anise pods make an intense licorice-like flavor, so I increase the sugar and water to 5 cups each to balance the flavors (I normally use 4 cups each when I make liqueur). For a stronger flavor, use only 4 cups each of sugar and water. Anise liqueur is ready to drink once it’s mixed with the simple syrup. It can also be bottled and stored for up to one year.
NOTE: Glass or metal jars, pots, and utensils work best for use in making homemade liqueurs. Plastic may retain traces of the alcohol and other ingredients.
4 ounce bag of dried star anise
4 cups of 151 proof grain alcohol
5 cups granulated sugar
5 cups water
STAR ANISE LIQUEUR TUTORIAL
Follow these instructions to make homemade star anise liqueur. Please note that star anise release oil during the steeping process. You should repeat STEP 3 at least twice to help filter this oil. The oil is safe for consumption; however, it may turn the liqueur cloudy when mixed with the simple syrup if too much oil remains or if the simple syrup is cool or lukewarm. Room temperature or cool syrup reacts to the oil. If the liqueur turns cloudy, try filtering it through a coffee filter (STEP 3). The liqueur is perfectly safe to drink even if it is cloudy.
STEP 1: Bundle star anise in cheesecloth and tie closed with string. Add cheesecloth bundle to fermentation jar with alcohol. Cover, and store jar in a cool, dark place. Let the star anise steep in alcohol for 4 weeks. The star of anise will turn the alcohol a caramel color.
Note: Remove the star anise cheesecloth bundle from the alcohol before filtering.
STEP 2: First filtration – Line a mesh strainer with cheesecloth and place over Mason jar (more than one jar may be needed). Note: If the strainer is larger than the jar opening, place a large funnel on jar mouth then rest strainer on funnel. Pour star anise liquid in strainer a little at a time. This will catch the remnants of the anise pods that break up during the steeping process. If needed, filter the liquid through cheesecloth a second time. Remove and discard the cheesecloth.
STEP 3: Second filtration – Line strainer with coffee filter and place over Mason jar (more than one jar may be required). Position strainer over funnel if needed. Pour alcohol in coffee filter a little at a time. Repeat this process as needed to remove any impurities and oil that may be leftover from the first filtration. Remove and discard the coffee filter.
STEP 4: Heat sugar and water over medium heat until sugar dissolves and water is clear. Do not boil. While liquid is still warm (not hot), mix with filtered alcohol. Cool completely. Anise liqueur can be served immediately or stored in bottles or jars for about one year, depending on the climate.
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