has anyone made grape liqueur?

I got it in my head that, if I could make cherry bounce, why not do something similar with grapes? A quick spin around the internets and my cookbook shelf didn’t yield much information. Or rather, there was a lot of information, but it was all over the place and recipes varied wildly.

Finally, I narrowed it down to one of two methods:

a) make a grape puree, add sugar and spices (cinnamon? allspice? cloves?), and then top with vodka and, after several months, strain.

b) put grapes in jars, top with 100 proof vodka, let sit for 3 months, strain and add sugar.

And then I found a Hank Shaw recipe for elderberry liqueur and left a comment asking for advice. Hank’s response: don’t do the grape puree version because it may cloud the drink — go with Plan B, aka his method for making elderberry liqueur.

But then just today I found other delicious-looking methods that call for mashing the grapes (like this one) and now I’m waffling again. I love eating the cherries from the cherry bounce — wouldn’t a drunken grape puree be yummy over ice cream? 

I could try both methods, and maybe I will, but then it occurred to me: maybe some of you have experience with this? We have a TON of grapes this year and there’s a giant bottle of 100 Proof Vodka sitting in the back hall. So tell me, please: WHAT SHOULD I DO.

P.S. I wrote this yesterday and then, last night, I went ahead and tried the Plan B option. I still want to make another version, though — I’ve got some vodka left, and there are still loads of grapes dangling from the vine…

This same time, years previous: the quotidian (9.9.19), home again, outside eating, calf wrangling, blasted cake, swoony supper.


  • Becky R.

    Although I have not made grape liqueur, I made several other kinds. My recommendation would be to use plan B, but to prick each grape so that the juice can mix effectively with the vodka. Grape skins are notoriously tough, and while puree would probably cloud the mixture, just putting the grapes into vodka may not allow the grape juice to mix with the vodka. Does that make sense? Even if it gets a bit cloudy, I bet it would still be just as good.

    • Jennifer Jo

      Did you use store-bought grapes or homegrown ones? I ask because our homegrown ones aren’t as firm — the skins tear and slip off while de-stemming them pretty easily — so I think a gentle jar shake every now and then might be all they need….?

      • Nicky Roo

        When I make sloe gin I freeze the sloes instead of pricking them all – they burst as they defrost! It might work with grapes too – saves lots of time.

  • Becky R.

    I have not made grape liqueur. Only other fruits, but my homegrown family grapes were very tough, so you probably don’t need to do that. Your grapes sound really good if they have thin skins! When I make cherry liqueur, I always prick the cherry skins.

  • Ramona

    My comment isn’t so much about grape liqueur. At my previous house I had many different berries and grapes growing. My neighbor told me about a juicer-steamer to make grape juice. I found one at a local store. It made such a difference in getting juice extracted from fruit. When making jelly from berries it was such a pretty clear color. So if you want to make grape juice it makes it faster and easier.

  • tippytoesfarm

    Our sour cherry trees were loaded this year and we made your Cherry Bounce. Oh my word so delicious. I have about 7 pint jars in the fridge (one mostly empty). And I have another 5 or gallons of cherries in the freezer that I may turn into bounce. I used Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum and Christian Brothers Brandy that had been aged 4 years in bourbon barrels. So good in bourbon and seltzer.

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