The French love to mix it up with ingredients and liqueur is no exception. Creme de Fraise is best made when strawberries are in season, offering the most affordable, abundant and sweet berries of the year. If making for gifts, you may want to make a large patch and store it somewhere in a cool, dry place until the holidays begin (strawberries are often ripe in May and June and homemade Creme de Fraise will be ready to drink by November.) Bottle in October, straining the fruit and labeling. Personally, I like the fruit to sit in the bottom of my own bottles.
Creme de Fraise has two seasons; when the bottles are full in the house and when the bottles are empty. In fall and winter, sip after dinner instead of eating dessert to have a bit of sweetness and also enjoy the warmth that it inspires while drinking it neat. In summer, add a splash to dry white wine or iced champagne for a delicious alternative. Poured over ice cream, it also makes vanilla ice cream something elegant for special occasions any time of year.
Creme de Fraise
6 pints of fresh strawberries (preferably organic or locally farmed), greens removed and quartered
3 cups white sugar
3 cups water
2 liters of your favorite mid grade vodka
In a large stock pot, combine sugar and water and simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly for at least ten minutes. Shut off the heat when the sugar water begins to thicken into simple syrup. Let cool.
Once cooled, add quartered strawberries and both bottles of vodka to the simple syrup. Mix and combine. Pour into an air tight container and store in a cool, dry place for at least three months.
After three months, strain (optional) and pour contents into individual bottles with screw caps or corks. Keeps up to a year.