We have a myrtle bush (called hemblass) and I wanted to do something else besides eating the berries raw. Well my aunt told me that her 85-year young friend Milady makes ” a delicious” liqueur with these myrtle berries. I got on the phone to ask for her recipe and was relieved to find out that making it could not be simpler. Just clean the berries and soak them for a month or so in Vodka; when ready to taste, squeeze the berries to extract most of the liquid, mix with some sugar syrup or honey, and store in a bottle in the fridge.
These berries come from a bush, and are native to the Mediterranean; however, I found out that in the US they are used as hedges and go by their latin name myrtus communis. Myrtles were famous in antiquity and Greek and Roman mythology; for Lebanese farmers, they are just plain healthy to eat and their leaves used in decoction help with many health conditions (bronchitis, diabetes, inflammations, etc)
1. Clean the berries thoroughly and air-dry. Place in a bowl and add enough Vodka to barely cover. Close the container and keep in a cupboard away from sunlight for at least 30 days. You can let them macerate for months before tasting.
2. Drain the berries and collect the liqueur; add honey or a sugar syrup if desired (the taste without it is bitter). If desired, add syrup or honey to the berries and serve alongside the liqueur. This liqueur is served as a digestive after a meal. Keep the bottle in the fridge.
NOTE: The syrup or honey is added as an option and to taste.