Saturday, 27 September 2014

Flavouring Sugars and Alcohols

What better day than Saturday to share a cocktail recipe? The drink du jour is my own creation and I call it...

It's tart and fruity with all the smooth perfuminess of vanilla and cherry. Yum!
And here's the best part, I made the sour cherry vodka and vanilla sugar myself. It was easy easy easy and you can swap out the sour cherry and vanilla for any flavours that you enjoy. True, if you change up the flavours you won't be able to make a Pinkertini, but you can make a new drink all your own and call it something wonderful like the handsome merman, or the Kathy Bates, or whatever. I'll stop thinking up all the best names now. 

Flavouring Alcohol

Choose alcohol (gin, whiskey etc) and choose a flavour (anything goes- literally anything, fruits, vegetables, herbs, candies, meats etc). Combine the alcohol and flavouring. Let sit, covered for one week. After that time you may strain the alcohol if you wish. If you leave the flavouring in, you can continue to add more alcohol as you remove it, in order to keep a continuous supply. 

We made our sour cherry vodka one evening this past July. After spending two hours pitting sour cherries to use in our canning, we had a huge pile of cherry pits in front of us. Chris had the great idea to combine them with a bottle of vodka! It was a great way to use what would have otherwise been waste. 

We put the cherry pits in a large mason jar and poured the bottle of vodka over them. Then we closed the jar and let the mixture sit for one week. We strained out the pits, put the vodka in a bottle and started coming up with cocktail recipes. The flavour of the vodka is delicious. The cherries came through strong and sweet. So much better than anything store bought! 

A few years ago we made a bacon flavoured rye for Chris' brother. To do this, we fried three strips of bacon and then added the cooked meat (and all the fat) to 750 ml of rye. We stored the mixture in the fridge for three days (typical time is 3-5 days), then we strained it (this removed the fat, which had coagulated at the top), and we were done! We bottled it with our own special label and it made a fun Christmas gift.

And next I want to try making skittles vodka!

Flavouring Sugar (or Salt)

This is just as easy! Choose your sugar (white granulated sugar is great, but you could get creative with some decorative sugars) and choose your flavouring (citrus, vanilla, mint- again, anything goes!). Combine the two, stir well, transfer to a jar, cover and store. 

To make my vanilla sugar I use half of one vanilla bean. I cut it lengthwise, removed the paste inside and then mixed all of it with the sugar. 

 Like the alcohol, more sugar can be added on a rolling basis to keep your supply steady. 
Flavoured sugars are a great way to add subtle, sophisticated hints of vanilla or citrus to your baking. And of course, they look pretty in jars and make lovely little gifts. 

Cheers! Here's to making your perfect personal cocktail!