This is the second recipe that I’ve ever tried from the great magazine, La Cucina Italiana. It came in the August 2011 edition as part of a round-up of apricot recipes. I love fruit-infused after-dinner liquors but have never tried to make my own. This one, at least, was really pretty straightforward. Unlike their limoncello recipe in an earlier section of the same volume, where you have to carefully remove the lemon rind while leaving as much of the pith behind (difficult!) as possible, here all that’s required is that you rinse and pit the fruit.
I doubled the recipe and have been giving small jars of this luscious drink to friends at work. The vanilla bean gives the apricots a powerfully rich flavor. I’m almost fooled into thinking that the drink was aged in new French oak barrels, like wine. This is strong, probably about 40 proof, so a little goes a long way.
4½ cups 80-proof vodka
2 lbs fresh ripe apricots, pits removed and roughly chopped
1 vanilla bean
2 cups sugar
1 cups water
Pour vodka into a large bowl. Add vanilla bean and apricots. Cover and let sit at room temperature for up to three days. Strain through cheesecloth. Rinse vanilla bean and let dry, for reuse.
In a medium saucepan, heat sugar and water together until completely dissolved into a simple syrup. Remove from heat and let cool. Once at room temperature, mix with infused vodka. Pour liquor into glass jars or bottles. I used the original vodka bottle and for the extra, some small jars for canning. Let rest in the refrigerator for about two weeks. Serve chilled. Enjoy!