My first attempt at making liqueurs was actually a few years ago. While living in Japan, I attempted to make limoncello. I don't remember why I decided to do this (boredom maybe), but it was an unmitigated disaster. Really. Both overly bitter and too sweet, it marks as one of my great culinary failures. And, for a dish that just involved vodka, sugar and lemons, that's saying something.
Two summers ago, I decided to try my hand at liqueur making again. This time it was sweet cherries and vodka. I still have a mason jar of it sitting in my cupboard. Again, it's too sweet to drink, but works really well for soaking cakes.
Yesterday, I made a chestnut liqueur, which involved infusing a sugar syrup with chestnuts, vanilla, bay, allspice and clove and then mixing in a copious amount of brandy.
It's got to sit for two more weeks, but if it tastes better then than it does now (and liqueurs usually do), I may just have hit on a winner. I'll be posting the recipe this week (along with my pain and anguish at roasting my own chestnuts), so stayed tuned for that little number. Christmas is coming, and you know you love giving homemade gifts!