I realized last night that I was almost out of my last batch of home made schnapps, so thought it would be a good time to share the recipe here.
Before I start, and just for the sake of argument - those who are purists or like to work a lot harder than necessary... here are some links to other methods.
So! Start out with JUST ripe, fresh fruit if at all possible. Frozen fruit is ok, as long as it is top quality and JUST ripe when frozen. (Good luck unless you picked it and froze it yourself. sigh) Wash and clean (peel if needed, core, remove stems, pits, etc.) carefully, then allow to drain thoroughly. Fruit that turns dark on exposure to air can be sprinkled with vitamin C powder. Grind some C tablets with a mortar and pestil - just remember to wash out the chili powder you ground up last!! LOL
Chop fine or run through food processor on coarse setting. Don't puree.
ratio is 1 pound clean, dry fruit to 1.5 cup everclear or 95% grain alcohol PLUS 1.5 cup filtered or distilled water. OR you can use 3 cups of 80 proof Vodka. Some vodka has a funky flavor, so the better quality the better the finished product will taste. I won't use vodka at all since I started with the Everclear - but the vodka is ok if you can't get the other.
DO NOT ADD SUGAR at this point.
Mix these in a sterile glass or stainless steel container with a good tight seal. Allow to stand in a cool, dark place for 2 to 4 weeks. Pour through a fine metal strainer into a clean glass jar. Allow it to drip and don't press. The fruit pulp will make wonderful topping for all sorts of things, so don't even DREAM of discarding it! It can be frozen in ice cube trays and then put in plastic bags to be used little by little.
When you have the pulpless product in the glass jar you can choose whether or not to add sugar - or how much. The standard recipe calls for 1 1/4 cup white granulated sugar for the batch size above. That much sugar may or may not dissolve immediately, but will be ok eventually. Don't use more, however. This should be sealed again and left to age in a cool, dark place for about 3 months.
I have plans to try some plain honey instead of sugar on the next batch. The honey would be especially good with some of the herb liquors like peppermint or spearmint. I want to do some with chamomile and maybe one with rosemary too.
For an herbal recipe, start with the 1.5 cup water, boiling. Add 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the dry herb and allow to steep until the water is cold or longer for bark (cinnamon) or seeds (like dill). Strain out the herbs and add the alcohol, then sweeten or bottle unsweetened. It doesn't need the same "working" time as the fruit, though it will improve in flavor with age.
One of my favorites is made with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, cloves and apple juice concentrate for the water. This one definitely needs the sugar. It's dynamite on/with hot apple pie or to make "mulled cider" in a flash. Use a recipe for apple pie spice mix to get the proportions. I'll look it up and try to remember to add it later.
Whew! Have fun with this. I need to go find something to drink! [G]