DIY vs. Buy: Delightful Pear Liqueur

This homemade liqueur is the perfect match for Champagne! That makes it the perfect match for me.

During the winter, many of the more showy fruits are out of season, but you can still find decent pears. (You have to love a fruit that goes equally well with stinky cheese and pork chops as it does with Champagne and brandy.)

DIY vs. Buy: Should I Make My Own Pear Liqueur?  on Serious Eats

Photo by Liam Boylan

DIY vs. Buy: Get Tiki with Falernum

You may not have heard of falernum, but if you love Tiki cocktails then you probably love falernum. It’s a combination of lime and spices, either as a rum liqueur or a syrup. Give it a try!

Falernum is indispensable in Tiki drinks, brightening the sour notes of citrus and adding a hint of rich spice. But it also plays well with slightly bitter flavors. If you’re at all interested in Tiki cocktails, this stuff is a must-have for your home bar.

DIY vs. Buy: Should I Make My Own Falernum? on Serious Eats

Photo by Liam Boylan

DIY vs. Buy: Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Spiced Rum

If you like spiced rum, there is no reason on Earth that you shouldn’t infuse your own. It’s so easy a drunk pirate could do it!

All the spices are common grocery-store finds you probably have in the cupboard already. Since you just need a pinch of this and a couple of that, the only significant cost is the rum. You’ll end up with a more elaborate and rich mix of spices than you’ll find in the store-bought kinds.

DIY vs. Buy: Should I Make My Own Spiced Rum? on Serious Eats

Photo by Liam Boylan

DIY vs. Buy: Legit Orange Bitters

This column was a fun excuse to make bitters the authentic way–with obscure bittering ingredients like gentian root and quassia chips. In my book, I have two great bitters recipes using easy-to-find grocery store items. They do the job and do it well. But the cocktail geek in me was happy to play around with weird tree bark for an traditional yet still totally original hardcore bitters recipe. (Don’t worry: It isn’t hard or expensive.)

Even though you only use a dash or two at a time, bitters can make or break a cocktail. Angostura bitters is the default, but orange bitters are actually very versatile.

Orange bitters are basically my cocktail Superman. When I’ve screwed up a drink by making it too sweet or gotten so close to perfection only to end up with something flat-tasting, orange bitters have swooped in to save the day. Just a drop or two can add the right depth or bridge together ingredients that aren’t quite living up to their mixological potential. But orange bitters are so much more than a way to fix a bad drink—they’re an essential part of so many balanced cocktails because of their deep, citrusy, spicy, and complex flavor.

DIY vs. Buy: Should I Make My Own Orange Bitters? on Serious Eats

Photo by Liam Boylan

DIY vs. Buy: How Do You Take Your Coffee Liqueur?

Look out, Kahlua–there’s a new coffee liqueur in town, and I made it! It’s super easy to make and tastes great. I share my recipe over at Serious Eats.

Homemade coffee liqueur tastes rich and full without any syrupy sweetness. Just like with coffee, not everyone takes their coffee liqueur the same way. If you’re picky about coffee, you can use your favorite beans in your own liqueur, and you have the option of playing with the spirit base as well. You can mix light and aged rums for more complexity. Not a rum person? Then try bourbon or vodka instead.

DIY vs. Buy: Should I Make My Own Coffee Liqueur? on Serious Eats