As Christmas is approaching, the time has come to celebrate and be merry – and what could make you merrier than home-made specialities?
Christmas Gin & Tonic (pictured right)
You need to plan in advance as the flavours of the gin and the spices need to amalgamate and gel for a minimum of two weeks.
for a 500ml bottle
- About 450ml dry Gin
- Two good handfuls of fresh cranberries
- Half a stick of cinnamon
- A quarter of a vanilla bean
- 3 cloves
- An inch or two of lemon peel
- Wash the cranberries and dry them with a kitchen towel. Prick each cranberry with a fork from one end to the other (be careful not to break the whole cranberry up).
- Fill an empty and clean 500ml glass bottle with the cranberries – they should take up between 1/4 to 1/3 of the bottle.
- Pour some regular caster sugar in the bottle so the berries are slightly covered.
- Add the cinnamon stick, vanilla, cloves and lemon peel and fill up the bottle with dry gin as much as you can, then seal.
- Shake the bottle well in order to mix it all and dissolve the sugar. Now be patient and store the bottle of Christmas Gin in a light but cool space for at least two weeks and shake it once to twice a day – you will see the colour turning red within a couple of days.
Prepare this in order to have your Christmas Gin on Christmas Day! You can pour it straight from the bottle or, if you prefer, strain it through a sieve. Works extremely well as a fragrant Gin & Tonic, especially with a good quality floral tonic!
Homemade Eggnog (pictured left)
It is extremely delicious and easy to make!
for a 500ml bottle
- 3 egg yolks (best to use organic)
- 100ml brandy
- 25ml orange liqueur
- The pods from half a vanilla bean
- 100g icing sugar
- 200ml single cream
- In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the icing sugar and the scraped out pods from the vanilla bean with an electric mixer for 10 minutes, then add the cream and whisk for another 10 minutes.
- Add the brandy and the liqueur and mix for another 2 minutes.
- Pour the mixture in a clean glass bottle of about 0.5l and enjoy it well chilled as an after dinner drink (shake well before serving, as it will thicken slightly in the fridge). Even though you are using fresh yolks, the alcohol and sugar preserves it well and the eggnog will keep in the fridge for up to 4 weeks – but I can assure you that you will finish it before New Year as it is so moreish.
- Adding a pinch of cinnamon on top when serving makes it even more festive. Works well poured over ice cream too!
Hot Apple Punch – alcohol-free (pictured in the middle)
Kids will love it, as it is hot and sweet and will keep the winter cold away.
For one Cup
- 1 cup of clear apple juice
- Three thin slices of fresh ginger
- A pinch of lemon zest
- 2 teaspoons elderflower syrup
- A sprig fresh mint
- Bring the apple juice with the ginger and the lemon zest to the boil, remove from heat and let it slightly cool down so it is hot but not piping anymore.
- Add the elderflower syrup and stir well. Fill into a nice glass or cup and add the fresh mint before serving. This is a drink that is not only yummy but also has an added boost of ‘health’ through the ginger and the mint!
Björn Drori Avraham runs his own food blog, for more recipe ideas have a look at www.palateofwisdom.wordpress.com