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Today I bring you my first local-inspired gift/recipe….homemade amaretto liqueur.  While it’s not amaretto in it’s truest sense, it sure tastes like it and can mostly be made with local ingredients (It’s sort of impossible to make real amaretto with local ingredients, at least for those of us in KC).  By the way, I am not in the moonshine business.  Let’s be clear.  This is nothing more than vodka flavored with honey, vanilla and almond extract.  Even if you do not drink alcohol, this is nice to have in the kitchen for baking purposes.  But if you do drink alcohol then feel free to enjoy a little in coffee, cocktails, hot chocolate, or even eggnog.

Now for the local inspiration, which I must say takes this from being good to being out of this world.  This may be news to some of you, but we have a local vodka distiller out of Weston, MO — McCormick’s Distilling.  I’m sure you’ve herad of them.  I didn’t know until recently that they are out of Weston.  Not only are they a local distillery, but they also have an eco-friendly line called Vodka 360 which uses local grain.  According to their website,

Each bottle of 360 Vodka is made with 85 percent recycled glass, featuring reusable closures and recycled
paper printed with water‐based eco‐friendly inks. As organic grain leaves a larger footprint, 360 Vodka
uses local grain grown less than 95 miles from the country’s most energy efficient distillery where 360
Vodka is crafted. This gives the brand its distinctive, smooth taste that has been awarded with multiple
platinum and gold medals for taste from international spirits competitions. The brand also donates one
dollar from every closure returned to their event partner, Global Green.

I am by no means a vodka connoisseur, but I am impressed with the taste.  It does not taste like rubbing alcohol, which is always a good thing…even if you are adding close to an equal part of honey.  Speaking of honey, that’s the other key here.  Now you can buy local honey at most grocery stores.  If you are buying it at the store then read the heck out of the label and make sure you are getting pure, local honey.  Or, skip the store and go to BADSEED Farmers Market on Friday nights and get some of the best honey you will ever have.  Ever.  Les Miller is the man when it comes to honey.  Pure basswood honey from Independence, MO, will wake up your taste buds with it’s bright, floral flavor.  You’ll get what that means once you taste it.

This is one of my most favorite gifts to give.  In the picture below I re-used a glass Soda Vie Root Beer bottle, which is Root Beer that is locally made using REAL FOOD.  And is for another post.  Whatever you find to store it in, pair with a pound of locally-roasted coffee or a quart of Shatto Egg Nog.  It’s. Soooo. Good.  But please drink responsibly, because it goes down smooooth……

Now I’m off to BADSEED!  Hope you enjoy the recipe and if you’re in KC, sounds like you might need it to stay warm this weekend!

Amaretto Liqueur
The flavor is best if it’s allowed to sit 2-3 weeks, but it can be used immediately.

1 1/2 cups honey
1 cup water
2 cups vodka
2 tablespoons almond extract
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Heat the honey and water in a small saucepan just until warm and they are incorporated.  You do not need to bring this to a boil.  Remove from heat and cool.  Combine the honey water with the remaining ingredients and stir.  Pour into jars, decanter, or glass bottle(s).  Makes appx. 4 cups.

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