As I mentioned in an earlier post, you can use homemade caramel coloring to get your liqueur a nice dark reddish brown color. What I may not have stressed was that you may need to use a lot. Contrary to my earlier post, the good news is that you can make quite a bit of caramel coloring with no more than 1/2 to 1 cup of granulated sugar and boiling water. Prepare the caramel coloring as mentioned in the Valencia post. To summarize: (Please wear protective gloves or oven mitts for steps 3 and 4 below)
1. Start a tea kettle or pot of water boiling – preferrably 3 cups or more.
2. In a saucepan, add the sugar and put it over a stove burner set to high
3. Over time, the sugar will melt and begin turning brown – begin stirring it with a metal spoon
Important! Turn on your exhaust fan or open windows because this is a very smoky process!
4. When the sugar has melted and browned to a nice dark reddish brown color, carefully pour as much as two cups of BOILING water into the brown water, while stirring constantly. Keep stirring until the desired amount of water has been added and remove from heat.
The interesting thing about caramel coloring is that you can add quite a bit of water before the color starts to dilute.
Now, if you want a really deep caramel color to your liqueur – use this caramel color instead of water when you dilute your alcohol. I have begun combining my simple syrup and caramel coloring together to produce a dark brown syrup which I use to dilute my liqueur to the right sweetness and alcohol concentration, while adding a nice deep rich hue.
Another secret – black walnut! That’s right. Ground black walnut husks are a very effective way of making your liqueur dark. Add about 1 tbsp per gallon of Black Walnut powder (it’s very fine and quite black) to your bitter base and shake well daily. After one week, your liqueur will already be quite dark. Finish it up with the caramel coloring for a very deliciously appealing color.