Jane GriffithsHow to make some Christmas spirits

It is always shocking when I see Christmas decorations in the shops. The glittering balls and shiny tinsel are a glaring reminder that the year is nearly over – when it feels like only yesterday we were celebrating its start. In our fast paced city, gardening helps slow things down. Especially when we utilise our garden ingredients in all aspects of our lives – including Christmas presents. Nothing says “I Love You” as much as a homemade gift and even more so when the gift is also home grown.

Elderflower liqueur

Elderflower liqueur

Home Grown Liqueur
A home made liqueur is an unusual and dead easy gift to make. Fresh herbs, vegetables and spices added to alcohol will quickly infuse it with their flavour. Mix and match different flavours, pop it in an unusual bottle, add a hand written label and voila, bottled Christmas Spirits.

Herbs infusing in alcohol

Herbs infusing in alcohol

How to make
Vodka is a good choice as it is almost flavourless. Gin, tequila, sake and light rum can also be used. Darker alcohol (brandy, port and dark rum) is good for fruit like cherries, plums and apricots.
⌲  Wash and dice the ingredients.
⌲  Place inside a wide mouth bottle.
⌲  Cover with alcohol and seal.
⌲  Store in a cool, dry place and shake every day. Infuse for one to ten days, tasting until it reaches the strength required, then strain and decant. (As a general rule, the more intensely flavoured the ingredient, the shorter the infusion time. Hot chillies can take a few hours to infuse, whereas melon will take up to ten days.)
⌲  Drink it on its own or use as a base for a delicious cocktail. Here is a recipe to get you started:

Strawberry & elderflower infused vodka

Strawberry & elderflower infused vodka

Summer Splash
⌲  2 tots elderflower and strawberry infused vodka
⌲  1 – 2 tabs vanilla flavoured sugar syrup (boil vanilla bean with two parts sugar to one part water until the sugar dissolves. Leave for a few hours for vanilla to infuse and strain.)
⌲  Good squeeze of lime
⌲  Top glass with crushed ice and soda water.

Beetroot (2)

Some flavourful ideas;
⌲   Beetroot infused in vodka makes the most brilliantly coloured drink with an autumnal earthy flavour. Try it mixed with sugar syrup infused with turmeric root and ginger. Top with soda water and a squeeze of lime
⌲   Infuse apple, cinnamon and nutmeg in brandy and use as a base to make an Apple Pie cocktail
⌲   Licorice root, anise hyssop and fennel seeds in gin not only tastes delicious but is also a good after dinner digestive.

Home grown cocktail

Home grown cocktail

⌲   Jalapeno in tequila is a quick one to make – simply poke some holes in the jalapenos and leave to infuse overnight. Delicious in margaritas.
⌲   Jalapeno infused beer is a delightful surprise – poke holes in the jalapeno and pop into your beer. The bubbles will help infuse the flavour very quickly and the ice cold beer is followed by a hot jalapeno bite. Yum.
⌲   Melon and mint in rum takes mojitos to a new level
⌲   Infuse Asian lime leaves, lemon grass and jalapeno in sake and use it to make a martini
⌲   Infuse horse radish in vodka and keep it in the freezer to give a Bloody Mary an extra kick
⌲   Infuse raspberries and blackberries in dark rum and drizzle it over ice cream or Christmas pud.

Christmas will never be the same again!

Christmas spirit!

Christmas spirit!

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Jane Griffiths

About Jane Griffiths

Jane Griffiths is a television producer, writer, artist and traveller who has been growing organic vegetables and herbs in her Johannesburg garden for more than fifteen years. Her best-selling book Jane's Delicious Garden led to a vegetable revolution in South Africa, with thousands of home growers following in her green footsteps. This was followed by Jane's Delicious Kitchen, a collection of delicious recipes for cooking and preserving home grown produce. Her newly released Jane's Delicious Herbs provides a wealth of information on growing and using nearly eighty different herbs, whether it is for cooking, healing, cleaning, pet care or simply feeling good. Visit her website at Jane's Delicious Garden and follow her on Twitter @DeliciousJane

3 thoughts on “How to make some Christmas spirits

  1. OMG Jane, you’ve even made me, the most un-earth mother type on the planet want to rush off and find things in the garden to infuse. Maybe it’s the alcohol…..It puts looking at your plants in a whole new light. Or glass.

    • Jane Griffiths on said:

      My latest experiments are with chilli, chocolate and plums in both tequila and brandy. And even if you don’t grow the ingredients – there are so many summer fruit in season at the moment that you can use.

  2. I just want to say, please invite me to your next party, Jane. !

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