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Liqueur des Iles

Question: What is made mostly of rum and is keeping me happy all holiday season long?

Answer: Liqueur des îles.

Bonus: It’s made partially of fruit, therefore it’s healthy and practically a salad, amirite, people?!

recipe for island liqueur


Over the past few months, I’ve made quite a few of my grandmother’s recipes and they’ve all been delicious savory meals or sweet desserts (search category Kreyol Kitchen for more). But I realized I hadn’t made an alcoholic drink since last year so I wanted to see what other boozy beverages she loved. Liqueur des îles caught my eye because of the process. It’s essentially three steps over the course of 30 days and the wait is worth it. So let’s get to it!


  • 1 orange
  • 1 mandarin
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves of vanilla
  • Alcohol (she most likely meant rum, so I used Barbancourt, a Haitian rum)
  • Milk (she specified cow’s milk, most likely to differentiate from evaporated)
  • Strainer
  • Cotton/paper filter (this was one of the things she listed but I didn’t need this; I just used a strainer)
  • Simple syrup




Before I get into the directions, I’m going to be honest with you and admit I couldn’t understand everything. It wasn’t necessarily the translation from French but in understanding the actual directions. I asked my parents about it and they weren’t sure either so I checked with my aunt, my dad’s sister who also is my godmother and still lives in Haiti and probably has made or had this drink more recently than my parents. Thanks to some back and forth via What’s App,  I was finally able to understand what my grandmother meant.



Day 0:

  1. Prick the mandarin and orange from side to side with a fork. Don’t prick the lemon.
  2. In a large jar (I used a glass pitcher), put the pricked orange and mandarin and the unpricked lemon, add a liter of alcohol, cover and let macerate for 15 days in the refrigerator.


Day 15:

  1. At the end of 15 days, remove the fruit.
  2. Add a glass of cow’s milk on top of the alcohol mixture without stirring the alcohol mixture.
What the mixture looks like after 30 days before completing the last steps.

Day 30:

  1. At the end of another 15 days, strain it to remove whatever residue is in the mixture.
  2. Add simple syrup (I don’t like drinks that are two sweet, so I did 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water rather than what this recipe calls for, which is a 2 to 2 ratio.)
  3. Then filter to remove any residue of fruit.
  4. Stir and serve.

This drink is potent! It’s also smooth and makes for a fabulous alternative to – or addition to – spiked egg nog this holiday season and winter. I hope you get around to making it. It’s definitely worth the time and little effort.


Finished island liqueur



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