Sunday, 11 January 2015

Sorry guys - I forgot this. Still, there is next Christmas.

I have just realised that I didn't post up the three awesome Christmas drinks I knocked together just before the big day. To be honest they are not season specific so you can always give them a go. On top of which, if you don't have a sous vide and a ziplock bag or chamber vacuum sealer then it's going to take a few months to get the same result so here goes for next Christmas.

I had been into our local Costco and picked up some dried cherries, blueberries and cranberries. The primary reason was a little more healthy than these recipes and that was to mix them with nuts for some healthy snacks. I just happened to be reading up on recipes for bitters and decided I fancied trying to create a Cherry bitters so I popped a bottle of blended whiskey, 4 vanilla beans split in two, a teaspoons of fennel seeds, two star anise and a crushed stalk of lemongrass into a bag along with a cup of dried cherries. Vac sealed and into the sous vide for 2 hours at 70C and on to the next recipe.

My wife is a sucker for a Cosmopolitan cocktail and I thought that something along those lines would make a great gift. A litre of vodka, a cup of dried cranberries and the rind of an orange were popped into a vac pack bag and joined the cherry bitters in the sous vide.

Now the question was what to do with the dried blueberries ? A little research on flavours and recipes led me to another litre of vodka, a cup of dried blueberries and the rind of a lemon heading in to a vacuum bag and joining the other two bags in the sous vide.

Two hours passed and the contents of each of the bags were strained. I retained the now spirit plumped fruit for use in a Christmas cake ( that turned out to be a good decision ). The only variation was the blueberry vodka that I poured over a bunch of fresh bruised basil while it cooled.

Once the items were cool enough to try I discovered that they needed no more sweetening for our taste but you can always add a simple sugar syrup to sweeten to taste.

The cherry bitters makes a great addition to a simple gin and tonic. A few drops can add a great edge to such a simple drink. I also enjoy a few dashes in tonic water if I want a low alcohol drink.

The cranberry and orange vodka was put in the freezer for 24 hours. This thickened it up and created a great frozen shot but it was best served as two measures of the vodka to 1 measure of bitter lemon or lemonade and squeeze fresh lime juice to create a great alternative to a Cosmo.

As for the blueberry vodka. I tasted this and found the rich flavour delicious. It has yet to be drunk but I think this will be another frozen shot that will be perfect on a summers day.

If you don't have the luxury of a sous vide then the same recipes put into a sealed storage jar and left in a dark cupboard for 3 to 6 months should produce similar if not richer results.

As for the Christmas cake. That will be for another post .....

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