Category Archives: Booze

Homemade Booze from the garden

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I went to the River Cottage festival this August bank holiday, and as well as it being a gloriously hot weekend, I went to a great wild cocktail workshop with the fantastic John Wright.

I came home full of enthusiasm for homemade booze, and have been experimenting ever since.

As well as inspiration from John’s book ‘Booze’, I’m a huge fan of Pinterest, and find many recipes in there. I tend to save them in my Recipes from the garden or Scented geranium recipes or my Cocktails folders.

I thought it was time to share a few of my successes. Some are made with lovely natural ingredients from my garden, and others purely from shop bought ingredients. This post focussed on the ones from the garden, and I will write other posts about the man made ones!

First up is a rhubarb and rose geranium vodka. I used this recipe from The Telegraph, and added a little pink food colouring to make it this gorgeous light pink colour (otherwise it’s a bit green). I also used rose scented pelargonium because rhubarb and rose are good together, but you could use any scented pelargonium leaves I guess. I think they were Grey Lady Plymouth pelargoniums. The Telegraph recommend mixing with champagne or prosecco, and I may well do that at Christmas.

Next up is rose scented gin, which I made by mixing gin, sugar and Attar of roses pelargonium leaves. This is my favourite rose scented pelargonium. I just had this as a gin and tonic, and it was delicious. But I’d like a stronger rose taste so next time I’m going to add more leaves and let it steep for more than a couple of weeks. Crushing the leaves probably also helps. Again I added a (teeny) bit of food colouring (less than to the vodka) to give a slightly better colour.

For both of these I let them steep (best to do it in a jar as it’s easier to get the bits out afterwards) and then strained and decanted into bottles after a few weeks. I strain mine twice. Once through a sieve lined with kitchen roll (I use a piece of that brand called Blitz and it’s lovely and thick) and once through kitchen roll as I’m decanting it into the bottle (I line my funnel with kitchen roll – you need to lift it from time to time as it creates an air lock).

I have also made some pelargonium scented simple syrups for use in cocktails. The simple syrup was made by heating 50% water and 50% sugar together. Then you mix in the leaves and leave it to soak for a while. Then strain.

And finally I’ve made some rose pelargonium sugar. By simply layering sugar and leaves for a while.

Recipes for the syrup and sugar can be found here.

Homemade booze from the larder

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Homemade booze from the larder

Another post about homemade booze – I feel like a lush!

These two are made from store cupboard staples, and are both nice and wintry.

The first is inspired from watching the new Paddington movie (which me and my daughter both loved), and it is, of course, marmalade gin.

Recipe is a Good Housekeeping one, and can be found here.

I made it tonight, (late November), so it should be nice and ready by Christmas, when I will post a photo of it decanted into nice bottles. Right now it looks like this…

I imagine it will make good cocktails.

The second one is very Christmassy. It’s mulled gin, and is a recipe from Morrisons supermarket. It can be found here. It’s basically gin, orange peel, cranberries, cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves and sugar.

I made more than the stated recipe, and just added a bit more sugar and cinnamon sticks, but left the rest of the ingredients the same. After hearing to melt the sugar, this is poured m straight into the bottles, and looks really pretty. It shouldn’t need straining. It would look nice in small bottles as Christmas gifts.

It also has to be left for at least two weeks, so make it by the first week in December if you want it to be ready in time for Christmas.

Update…

This is what they looked like decanted.

Very similar in colour – the marmalade gin was slightly lighter. And the both taste absolutely amazing. I particularly liked the marmalade one, and my sister loved the mulled one – she mixed it with Fever Tree aromatic tonic to spice it up even more.

When I make the mulled one again, I might prick the cranberries to help them impart more of their flavour.

Both a huge hit!

Homemade Christmas Chocolate Booze

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Homemade Christmas Chocolate Booze

As Christmas is coming, my thoughts are turning to nice warming drinks, and cocktails.

I love a good cocktail, and I particularly like Baileys style drinks at Christmas!

I thought I’d have a go at making my own, and then I thought it would be good to share how I got on and where I got the recipes.

The flip top Bottles are from Wilkos homebrew range. Much cheaper than the Kilner ones.

The first is Nutella liqueur. The recipe I used for inspiration is here. I made a larger batch, used single cream, and added a teaspoon of almond extract to up the nutty flavour (I’m a huge amaretto fan). I didn’t write down my measurements (I converted it into UK measures), but looking at the recipe again, I may have miscalculated and put in an equal amount of cream, Nutella and vodka. I think I did 400g nutella, 400ml cream and 400ml vodka.

I had a shot over ice, and it’s completely awesome.

It needs a good shake before you use it, and I’ve been keeping it in the fridge – it needs to warm a little before shaking it as it solidifies a bit with the high fat content!

The next one is most exciting – caramelised white chocolate liqueur. It’s to die for (if you have a sweet tooth). The recipe is here, but I didn’t have any condensed milk, so I replaced it with extra cream. I also doubled the quantities.

The making of the caramelised chocolate was the best bit. So exciting. The recipe for how to do it is here. I used 300g of Green and Blacks white chocolate, and I got about 200g of caramelised chocolate. I guess some is lost through evaporation, and some through my thorough taste testing!

I thought I would share some photos of the process.

It looks like toffee, but it has chocolatey undertones. Amazing. Delicious. Could eat it off a spoon.

Anyhow, you mix it with warm cream and vodka, and the result is like a lovely boozy pudding. If you like your drinks sweet, you should add the condensed milk, as I’ve tasted mine and it’s not particularly sweet (certainly not when compared to the Nutella one).

And now I have to think about what to do with the leftover chocolate…

Update…

Naturally we drank these at Christmas. They are both quite strong, so if you don’t like strong drinks, you might want to reduce the amount of vodka.

We drank them over ice like baileys, and discovered that if you mix them together they make an amazing drink that is better than either of them separately!