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Recipes

Hawthorn “zaarour” liqueur

Baskets of hawthorn or “aubepine” in French ©clivenichols.com

During our long hikes in the mountain overlooking the Qaraoun Lake towards the end of summer, we used to be thrilled when passing across a hawthorn or thornapple shrub bearing of those small red fruits. I also remember two old wise men hiking with us, filling their backpacks with these pome fruits or “zaarour” to make liqueur once they are back home.

Preparing “zaarour” liqueur is not a difficult procedure; however picking the fruits from the spinous shrub can sometimes be tricky.

Total servings: 750 ml of liqueur

Ingredients:

300 g hawthorn berries, cleaned and slightly squashed

275 ml of 95° alcohol

300 ml of potable water

300 g of sugar

 Preparation steps:

  1. In a sterilized jar, add the alcohol and berries and leave to rest in the dark for 15 days.
  2. After 2 weeks, filter and add the sugar and water to the solution.
  3. With a spoon, stir to make sure sugar is dissolved.
  4. Leave the solution to rest for few more days before bottling.
  5. Enjoy a thimble cup of hawthorn liqueur to benefit from the powerful antioxidant protective effects of this fruit on the heart.

[quote] When it comes to consuming alcohol, the key is moderation*! We all know the dangers of an excessive alcohol intake, however moderate drinking can have certain health benefits such as: increasing the levels of good cholesterol (HDL); and lowering the chance of diabetes and heart disease. If you drink, keep it moderate! Cheers.

 *Up to 1 drink per day for women; up to 2 drinks per day for men [/quote]

Homemade liqueurs ©IrishTimes
Categories
Recipes

Myrtle liqueur – Hemblass

Blue myrtle liqueur ©canalblog

Myrtle (Latin: Myrtus communis; Arabic: Hemblass) also called True Myrtle, is a shrub common to the Mediterranean region and which was considered as one of the symbols of Venus, representing love and immortality. Myrtle berries have always been an ingredient in the kitchen of many Mediterranean countries, used to flavor soups, stews, meat and chicken. Leaves and berries are also known for their medicinal properties as an astringent, an antiseptic, and a decongestant. Myrtle berries come in white and blue colors according to the variety. A liqueur is traditionally prepared from myrtle berries collected late autumn – early winter.

White myrtle berries ©TasteofBeirut

In Lebanon, myrtle is found in coastal cities, as garden hedges, and used to be a great part of the landscape, but is fading away gradually.

Total servings: 3 liters of liqueur

Ingredients 

1 Kg of myrtle

1 L of 95° alcohol (you can use a good vodka if alcohol is not available)

1 L of water

500 g of sugar.

Preparation steps:

  1. Wash the berries thoroughly with water
  2. Place in a glass jar, add the alcohol, seal and let infuse for 30 days in a dark place
  3. After 30 days, press the berries to extract the maximum of flavor and alcohol, then drain the berries and collect the alcohol
  4. Prepare syrup using the water and sugar. Let cool and then add to the liqueur
  5. Place in bottles and let stand for a week
  6. Myrtle liqueur can be served chilled or at room temperature. It makes an excellent digestive

[quote] When it comes to consuming alcohol, the key is moderation*! We all know the dangers of an excessive alcohol intake, however moderate drinking can have certain health benefits such as: increasing the levels of good cholesterol (HDL); and lowering the chance of diabetes and heart disease. If you drink, keep it moderate! Cheers.

 *Up to 1 drink per day for women; up to 2 drinks per day for men [/quote]

Categories
Recipes

Apple Cider

Apple cider ©TastyOasis

The alcoholic fermentation properties of apples have been known and used by men since ancient times. The recipe for what has long been called the “apple wine” has evolved over the centuries, but the principle remained the same.

The apple juice-based drink has been first mentioned in the 13th century in Spain; it was called “sydre”. The manufacturing technique was then imported across Europe, mainly in Normandy – France, and reached later the American states and other parts of the world.

The first time I tried home-made apple cider in Lebanon, was in this lovely village of Bkaatouta, a village known for its apple production, delicious apple gaining their special taste from the typical soil and favorable climate of the region. The family I visited, an old-time producer of apple, decided to take advantage of the potential of their apple orchards and their know-how to produce cider. The ample quantity of apple cider they produce in respect of traditional methods is consumed at the household level, but also makes special gifts to be enjoyed by their friends.

Autumn golden apples picked freshly to make cider

Preparation steps:

  1. Old varieties of apple are used to make cider. But a blend of new varieties – sweet (Red Delicious or Fuji) and sour (Granny Smith) is used to give a balanced taste. Make sure that the used apples are freshly picked
  2. In the traditional way of making apple cider, no yeast is added, nor water
  3. Before starting the process, make sure all used equipment, utensils and containers are sanitized
  4. Autumn apples are selected, washed and pressed with a kitchen juicer
  5. The obtained sweet juice is then put in glass gallons and allowed to stand, for 6 weeks minimum, to ferment naturally, in a cool and dry place. Gallons openings are closed with a cloth mesh, allowing contact with air, and preventing anaerobic fermentation. The slower the fermentation process, the tastier the cider
  6. After 6 weeks, the cider is filtered to get rid of impurities and then bottled. The natural fermentation of this artisanal cider proceeds in the bottles using natural yeasts, but on a slower rate, allowing its conservation for years
  7. The final product is a “demi sec” apple cider with an alcohol degree usually reaching 5-6, and is often consumed chilled

[quote] When it comes to consuming alcohol, the key is moderation*! We all know the dangers of an excessive alcohol intake, however moderate drinking can have certain health benefits such as: increasing the levels of good cholesterol (HDL); and lowering the chance of diabetes and heart disease. If you drink, keep it moderate! Cheers.  

*Up to 1 drink per day for women; up to 2 drinks per day for men [/quote]

Ginger spiced cider ©76.photobucket