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Deborah’s Accidentally Fabulous Sun-Dried Tomato Liqueur

Step One
2 cups: Organic Sun-dried Tomatoes
3-4 cups: Water
Boil Tomatoes in water just long enough to soften them to a pliable state, but not cook them.
Strain Tomatoes and reserve water.
Cool tomatoes to room temperature before moving on to step two.

Step Two
2 cups grain alcohol
2 cups 80 proof vodka (a quality brand but not necessarily top shelf)
Peel of one lemon in large pieces, not zest (Make sure lemon is clean and blemish free. Make sure there is no pith)
Put cooled tomatoes in a large sealable jar (I use a gallon size glass jar with a rubber sealing ring and a metal hasp) Add lemon peel and alcohols. Shake to stir and put away in a dark place.

Step Three
2 cups: Reserved tomato water from step one.
4 cups: White sugar
Bring to boil and continue boiling until completely clear. This will make about 2 1/2 cups of simple syrup. Put syrup in a airtight container and store in refrigerator until step four.

Infusing
Every day for about 14 days agitate jar to keep tomatoes from settling.

Step Four
When infusion reaches desired color, strain out tomatoes and lemon peel. Throw away lemon and save tomatoes. Rinse jar. Return liquid to jar and add tomato flavored simple syrup. Stir well with wooden spoon. Reseal jar and store in cool dark place to mellow. You may want to sample it every year to see how smooth is has become. I forgot about mine, and didn’t try it for three years. It might have been ready much sooner.

Alcohol content:
If my math is correct, this works out to 43% alcohol or a little more than 80 proof. You can reduce the alcohol content by increasing the amount of simple syrup you make, but remember that you will also be increasing the sweetness. As an alternative, you can use food grade glycerin to thicken plain water and add that to your batch.

Serving Suggestion:
Serve at room temperature in an aperitif glass with a small sprig of fresh basil floating on top.

Suggestions for use of left over tomatoes:
Liquefy the tomatoes in a food processor, strain through a sieve, and try using as a base for Bloody Mary Aspic.
Use them to make Vodka Sauce.

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