Culinary Anthropologist

Bay leaf liqueur


smbayleafliqueur0001.jpgAfter sampling the most delicious, dark and bitter liqueur at the end of our (fantastic) lunch at Trattoria Le Zie in Lecce, Puglia, we had to try making it ourselves.  After some research and then the good fortune of finding a tree-load of fresh bay leaves on Freecycle, this was the result.  It worked beautifully.

Recipe:  Bay leaf liqueur.pdf

100 large fresh and beautiful bay leaves, washed
1 litre good vodka
pared zest two smallish unwaxed lemons
2 cinnamon sticks
2 fat cloves

  1. Put everything in a jar, seal and leave for one to two months.
  2. Strain.  Make a simple syrup by dissolving one part sugar in one part water.  Let cool.  Dilute the bay infusion with the simple syrup to taste.  Keep it quite strong and quite bitter.  Bottle and leave for another one to two months. 
  3. Strain or decant again if needed.  Best served slightly chilled at the end of a big meal.


  1. wendy

    I have a beautiful large bay tree, and your liquer sounds fab – please let me know how much sugar I will need to make the syrup.
    Many thanks

  2. Anna

    Hi Wendy
    Sorry – the recipe isn’t clear. Don’t put any sugar in at first – just all the other ingredients. Use the sugar to make a simple syrup – ie dissolve one part sugar in one part water to make a clear syrup, let it cool and then add it to taste to the infused and strained vodka. How much you use will depend on your personal taste. So you could start by dissolving 200g sugar in 200ml water and adding bit by bit until tastes good.
    Cheers, Anna

  3. diary of a tomato

    Thanks for posting this recipe! We’re just finishing our second visit to Puglia, starting in Lecce, traveling through the Gargano and ending up in Canosa di Puglia, and have become very enamored of liquore alloro that’s been on offer at the end of almost every meal.