So, it's been about four weeks, and the peaches and nectarines have infused well into the vodka. At this stage you could just drain off the vodka and have flavoured vodka to use in cocktails or drink it 'on the rocks'. My dad has done this with mandarins from his garden soaked in triple sec to create a very strong citrusy infusion.
However, if you add some sugar syrup, you can get a sweeter and milder liqueur to pour over ice cream, add to trifles or a glass of chilled sparkling wine.
You will need to get a few decorative bottles to put you creation in, a strainer and large bowl to capture the vodka, a funnel and a metre or two of muslin cotton to strain the mix.
I found my bottles at The Reject Shop, the large ones are 500mL capacity, the smaller will hold 200mL. Muslin cotton is about $2 a metre at Spotlight, give it a hand rinse before you use it to get rid of any chemicals, etc.
You will also need to prepare a simple sugar syrup. Syrup is 66.6% w/v sugar in water, so dissolve 2 cups of white sugar in 1 cup of water and you will be sweet. (excuse the pun)
The rest is pretty simple. Place the strainer in the bowl, and double layer the muslin over the top. Pour the contents of the jar through the muslin and allow it to drain into the bowl.
It is very important that you overcome the urge to just strain the whole lot over the sink like you would vegies. Remember: you want to save the liquid, not the fruit.
Gently pick the whole lot up and give it a good squeeze to get all the fruity goodness out. You want to get as much dissolved squished up fruit out as you can without getting the pulp.
Also, if you check out the photo below, when we poured out the nectarines, the pectin and sugar in the fruit had set and made a vodka jelly in the jar, so squeezing was required to turn all that to liquid.
Now is the time to mix through the sugar syrup. For the amount produced from my 1L jar filled with fruit, I added 1 cup of syrup which tasted sweet enough to me.
Use a funnel to fill the bottles, add a stopper and admire your work.
The colour comes naturally from the fruit, and it's a bit hard to tell the difference since my bottles are a bit blue, but the peach liqueur was a very pinkish orange and the nectarine more a pale orange. Both gave the kitchen the most wonderful scent though.
On the left is the white nectarine in plain vodka, and on the right is yellow peach in vanilla vodka. From my tasting as I went, I don't think the flavoured vodka makes much of a difference as the fruit had a very strong flavour but it was just an experiment.
The finished liqueur will need to sit in a cool dark cupboard for at least 2 weeks to age and mellow.
I mentioned that this was a three part process, stay tuned for taste testing and cocktail creation...