I always love making Christmas gifts for people...my family always get something homemade each Christmas and I try to come up with something new each year.
Ok, this time it isn't a craft present - but I still wanted to put it on my blog as it did involve a bit of crafting decoration too.
This year was so much fun - I had my husband's help as we discovered flavoured vodka!!! We are not drinkers at all - but several of our friends have had fun flavoring vodkas and it looked interesting. I found some Christmas themed drink ideas online, and we put together a "Six flavours of Christmas" themed booze for our family and friends...We were going to try to make twelve!!!....Perhaps next year? We have already started preparations for next year so it could happen!
While researching some recipes a friend of ours told us about how they make Sloe Gin each year and that this was a great year for sloes and we should set it up now for next year. So we have a litre of Sloe Gin soaking in the cupboard that will be ready Christmas 2016! And of course there are favourites on this list that we want to make for next year and there are some we didn't get time to do this year that we do want to try! This has turned into a bit of a hobby.....
Before bottling them up we couldn't resist having a taste taste and some friends also joined in with the taste reviewing - they are very dangerous (most were way too drinkable!)
I had a lot of fun making the name tags for each and decorating the bottles with charms and ribbons.
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup Vodka
1/2 cup Brandy
Sterilize jar. Wash plums carefully then cut them up, discarding the stones. Put sugar into jar and then add plum pieces. Pour the alcohol over the sugar and fruit and seal jar. Keep for two months in a cool dark place, shaking jar daily. Strain liquid through a sieve, pressing the fruit to get out all the juice. Strain through a muslin to remove any tiny pieces of fruit that got through the sieve.
The liqueur can be drunk at this point, but the flavour is improved by keeping for a further four weeks before serving.
Orange and Coffee Vodka (Liqueur 44)
1 litre Vodka
44 Coffee Beans
44 Sugar cubes
Sterilize jar. Add sugar cubes. Cut into an orange 44 times and insert a coffee bean into each cut. Place the orange into the jar and then cover with a litre of Vodka. Seal jar and keep in dark place for 44 days before removing the orange. Pour liquid through a muslin to remove any small particles of orange skin.
Christmas Pudding Liqueur
Use 650mls of your choice of alcohol. You can use just Vodka or make a mix of favourites. I used this combination -
250ml Liqueur 44 (If not using Liqueur 44 add some finely grated orange peel to the fruit mixture) 200ml Brandy
50ml Cherry brandy
200g dried fruit mix
100g dark brown sugar
50g molasses sugar
2 tsp mixed spice
Add fruit, sugar and spices to a sterilized jar. Pour over the alcohol. Shake to mix and leave for one week. Strain through a muslin and squeeze to extract all liquid.
Pomegranate and Vanilla Schnapps
3 very ripe pomegranates
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Mix water and sugar together and melt to form a sugar syrup. Leave to cool. Cut pomegranate in half and remove all the seeds. Add the seeds to a sterilized jar and add sugar syrup with vanilla pod. Cover with vodka and seal. Leave in dark place for about 2 weeks before pouring through muslin to remove seeds.
Candy Cane Vodka
120g candy canes
Put Candy canes into food processor and whizz until it becomes a fine powder. Add powder to a sterilized jar and pour over vodka. Shake to mix. Leave for a few days to ensure all candy cane particles fully melt.
Salted Caramel Vodka
500 ml Vodka
200 g chewy caramels
Pinch of salt
Add caramels into a sterilized jar and pour over the vodka. Shake to mix and shake daily for several days until caramels are all melted. If there is any froth on the surface pour through a muslin.
I am looking forward to drinking a few of these on Christmas day!
From Laura xxxxxxxxxx