I know we haven't even had Halloween yet, but in my defence, the sooner you start making this, the longer the flavours will have to develop
I'm planning to give mainly homemade gifts this Christmas, and I made a start on the first one last weekend.
I'm thinking this will make a good gift for mine and Liam's siblings, although if this batch goes well I might make some other flavours - apparently raspberry vodka is really easy to make with frozen raspberries and caster sugar.
I couldn't resist making Christmas Pudding Vodka first though, how cool does that sound?? I got this idea, and loads of other ideas, from the Mumsnet Homemade Christmas threads (thread one here, thread two here). I think the Christmas Pudding Vodka recipe was first given on page 10 of the first thread, but I recommend you read them all - so many great ideas!
I adapted the recipe slightly as I had less vodka, family don't like cloves, only had one variety of dried fruit etc etc, so this is what I did...
Christmas Pudding Vodka
- 70cl vodka (I used own brand stuff from Lidl, hoping it wont matter too much!)
- 3 tbsp dark brown sugar
- peel of most of an orange (pith removed as much as possible)
- peel of most of a lemon (same as above)
- 55g sultanas (original recipe, for 1 litre vodka, recommended 25g each of sultanas, currants and dried figs)
- about half of a long cinnamon stick
- Get all your ingredients together...
2. The recipe said to first combine all the ingredients together in a jug. My instincts were just to bung everything into the new (bigger) bottle but, for all of you, I followed the recipe (well, I didn't put all of the vodka in the jug, but still)...
At least I can tell you not to bother with this stage - have you tried getting soaked, sugary sultanas into a thin necked bottle when they've all clumped together? I don't recommend trying it - just put them straight into the new bottle whilst still dry.
3. Put all your ingredients into your new (clean) bottle. For 1 litre of vodka, the recipe recommended using a 1.3 litre bottle, but as I was only using 70cl vodka I just used a 1 litre bottle.
4. Leave for anywhere between 2 weeks and 3 months, shaking occasionally.
5. Use a funnel lined with coffee papers to remove all the sediment and decant into pretty sterilised bottles. Add a fresh piece of lemon and orange peel, and a fresh cinnamon stick if you'd like.
I haven't done the last stage yet, so I'll show you the results when I do! On the Mumsnet threads, there were some suggestions for the little bottles to decant into. The cheapest I could see were these ones - £10.95 for 6x 250ml bottles. Please let me know if you see any better deals!
After a week, the sultanas have majorly plumped up and most of the sugar has dissolved. The vodka just smells of citrus at the moment though. I'm going to leave it for the minimum 2 weeks and then taste a small sample of it. If necessary I can then add more sugar/different types of dried fruit to give it more flavour, and still have plenty of time to leave it to infuse before straining in time for Christmas.
Do you have any plans to make any homemade Christmas gifts? Or have you made any successfully in previous years? I'm also planning to make chutney, chocolate bark, mustard, fudge, cookies, brownies, and maybe some other flavoured alcohols. I may or may not get all of these done though...time always seems to disappear too quickly!