"This is a sweet, very potent beverage that can be found at Lithuanian festivals and Lithuanian social clubs in Baltimore. They usually pronounce it 'VIT-a-tis'. Viryta is usually homemade by descendants of Lithuanian immigrants, using recipes that have been handed down through the generations, and is a popular commodity around the holidays. It took me years to finally get someone to teach me how to make it; most of the people around Baltimore who make it are very secretive about their family recipes! I'd probably catch an earful if she knew I posted it online!"
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
**Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.
(-)Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.
Peel orange and lemon in a circular motion in a large strip. Place peels in a warm, dry area to dry for 24 hours.
Stir honey, 1 cup water, sugar, caraway seeds, cloves, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and ground nutmeg together in a large pot; bring to a rolling boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 45 minutes. Add dried orange and lemon peels to honey mixture; continue to simmer for 15 minutes.
Remove from heat; discard fruit peels. Stir grain alcohol and remaining 2 1/2 cups water into honey mixture. Transfer mixture to a glass container and tightly cover with a lid. Place in a cool location out of direct sunlight and let set, gently swirling container every few days, for 1 week.
Strain mixture through double-layered cheesecloth to remove sediment. Pour liqueur into bottles or decanters and seal.
Some people confuse Viryta with Krupnik, but they are two different types of honey-flavored spirits. Krupnik is a Polish liqueur with a vodka base; Viryta is of Lithuanian origin and has a grain alcohol base and much higher alcoholic content per ounce.
Liquid must set in a tightly-covered glass container. This is very important, as leaving the mixture uncovered during its 'setting' period will allow much of the alcohol to evaporate.