Banana is a sensational fruit. It is not only the favorite of many, it is the most popular fruit in the world.
In cocktails, though, banana is often disregarded because of its mushy texture when muddled or shaken.
That also means that the key to adding bananas to cocktails is bringing them into liquid form. In general, there are three ways to do that: A banana infusion, a banana syrup, or a banana liqueur.
What is Banana liqueur?
Simply put, a banana liqueur is an infusion of ripe bananas in an alcoholic base mixed with a sweetener. A banana liqueur is a brilliant way of bringing banana flavors into cocktails and other mixed drinks.
In Mixology, this liqueur is also known as Crème de banane. But finding a great Crème de banane is almost impossible.
Especially with bananas, most liqueurs have an artificial taste. Therefore, a homemade version is one of the best ways to get a vibrant and fruity banana liqueur without artificial flavors.
By this, you get rich and sweet banana flavor into cocktails without making a mushy mess.
The difference between infusion and liqueur
An alternative to banana liqueur is a banana infusion. The difference is that, for an infusion, you add ingredients to alcohol, let it sit, and soak up the flavors.
Liqueur, on the other hand, adds syrup to sweeten the mix, which leads to a more balanced taste and a lower ABV.
Liqueurs typically range between 20% to 30% of alcohol by volume, whereas infusions are as strong as the base liquor; - usually between 35% and 40% ABV.
Homemade banana liqueur
When making a homemade banana liqueur, you make an infusion first. For this, you need base alcohol in which ripe bananas are put to infuse.
Basically, any spirit works here: Gin, Whiskey, Vodka, Rum, and even Tequila. Although, the last is a more popular choice for spicy ingredients like Jalapeño infused Tequila.
Therefore, in most cases, Vodka is used for infusions. It is neutral and almost flavor- and odorless. That lets the infusing flavors shine.
That is also valid for banana liqueur. Nevertheless, we will use something else in this recipe.
For our homemade banana liqueur, you need aged Rum. Banana and the flavors of aged Rum work beautifully together and create a rich deep flavor profile with lots of vanilla and caramel notes.
Making a DIY banana liqueur
All you need when making a delicious tropical banana liqueur is six over-ripe bananas, a bottle of aged Rum, and sugar.
For the sugar part, you can use regular sugar, but raw Demerara sugar makes a richer and more complex liqueur.
Perhaps you already worked with Demerara syrup which is part of many Rum and Tiki cocktails. The flavors of toasted sugar, caramel, and molasses in Demerara are an excellent fit for those drinks and this liqueur.
The Ingredients needed for the banana Liqueur:
- 750ml Aged Rum
- 6 organic Over-ripe bananas
- 250gr Demerara sugar
Tools you need:
- Large Mason jar
- Coffee filter
- Empty bottles
Making your DIY banana liqueur is a simple five-step process.
1. Step: The bananas
For a sensational homemade banana liqueur, you need organic, over-ripe bananas. The skin can be entirely brown.
Use a large (extra-large, actually) mason jar and put six bananas in, including the peels.
2. Step: Add aged Rum
Now add one full bottle of aged Rum to the bananas; -Bacardi and Flor de Cana both work great for this recipe.
Next, gently muddle and macerate the whole bananas until they partly dissolve and open. Then, let the mix sit in a cold and dark place for 3-5 days.
3. Step: Straining the infusion
To get rid of all particles in the infusion, properly strain it. For this, use the cheesecloth to filter the liqueur and to remove the larger particles.
In a second run, filter out the fine particles using a funnel and coffee filter. Repeat this process if the liquid is still cloudy.
Once the infusion is clear and ready, it's time to make a liqueur out of it.
4. Step: Making the banana liqueur
Add the banana-rum infusion into a large pot. By now, you should have about 850ml of liquid. Add the 250grams of Demerara sugar to that.
Then stir the mixture over low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved. Once all sugar crystals are gone, remove the mix from the heat and do not boil the liquid.
5. Step: Bottling
Before filling your liqueur into sterilized glass bottles, let it cool down completely. Once it reaches room temperature, it's ready for bottling.
Grab your funnel and fill your homemade banana liqueur into bottles. Stored in the fridge, this liqueur will last for at least six months. -But this stuff is so tasty, it probably will be gone a lot faster than that.
Banana liqueur in classic cocktails
Banana liqueur isn't the most common ingredient in cocktail recipes. But there are some classics you can make with our DIY banana liqueur.
The Rum Runner is a classic tiki drink made with Rum, fresh juices, and fruit liqueurs. One of the liqueurs used in the cocktail is banana liqueur.
The Yellow Bird is a brightly-colored cocktail from the Caribbean. A blend of different types of Rum, fruit juices, and liqueurs like Galliano and banana liqueur.
The flavors in this drink are complex, with lots of vanilla notes and a hint of licorice.
The Dirty Banana is one delicious and refreshing cocktail. Rum, coffee liqueur, cream, fresh banana, and banana liqueur are blended with ice to make a creamy tropical cocktail.
- 750 ml Aged Rum
- 6 Organic over-ripe bananas
- 250 gram Demerara sugar
- Put the over-ripe bananas into the cleaned mason jar and add the aged Rum.
- Muddle and macerate the fruits gently yet throughly.
- Close the mason jar and let the mix infuse for 5 days.
- After 5 days, strain and filter the infusion with the help of cheesecloth and coffee filters.
- Pour the clear infusion into a large sauce pan and add Demerara sugar. Gently heat the mix without boiling it.
- Once the sugar is completely dissolved, remove the liqueur from the heat and let it cool down.
- Once the liqueur reaches room-temperature, pour it into sterilized bottles and store the liqueur in the fridge.
- The liqueur will last for at least 6 months.