Christmas Liquor and Liqueur Recipes
Being based in Europe for the festive season is a very different experience to New Zealand or Australia. Despite loving the Southern Hemisphere Christmas, the festive season really makes sense when it’s cold and wintery outside. The mulled wine, long lunches and dinners indoors, out of the cold; feasting until you feel slightly ill. It’s much easier to indulge in that extra piece of dessert when you aren’t going to spend the next week in a bikini at the beach.
One thing I am loving is the plethora of traditional Dutch Christmas goodies that are turning up in the supermarkets and shops. Most of the labels I’m still unable to read but it’s much more entertaining playing lucky dip and finding out what it is with the first bite. There have only been great successes so far, but it is lucky I like marzipan!
Another great find is Jenever, the Dutch version of gin and where gin originated from. A subtly different flavour that I prefer mixed with a good splash of tonic and some fresh mint. The juniper flavoured liquor has been around since the 1500s and the distilling technique perfected along the way. Jenever is only able to be produced in the Netherlands and Belgium to preserve the authenticity of it.
Trying this delightful drink helped inspire our next round of homemade gift ideas that are seriously easy to make. If you have purchased a Mad Millie Handcrafted Gin Kit this is the perfect starting point as you will already have the Botanical Blend to make your own delicious London Style homemade gin. But don’t feel limited by specific herbs or flavours, there are so many options when it comes to infusions!
Whether you prefer aromatic or fruity, sweet or fresh, think outside the box of all your favourite flavours. Below we have given you a few of our top picks to get you started. If you prefer things a bit sweeter, more of a liqueur than a liquor then consider making it a two-step infusion process. Make a simple sugar syrup up and after the initial infusion add some of your sugar syrup to taste, then infuse for a further week to allow the flavours to settle (instructions below).
I love the little bottles as a gift; not only are they very cute but it means you can get gift a few different options to show off all that you have created. Alternatively go for bigger bottles and create a flavour specific to the lucky recipient.
1 x bottle of average quality vodka – volume depends on your infusion bottle/s size. Don’t buy a super cheap one as it will impact the flavour of your infusion. Mid-range is good to get a clean base for your flavours.
Depending on the size of your bottle, the amount of ingredients will change. We were using 250 ml bottles so increase or decrease accordingly.
Option 1 – Dried apricots, cranberries, cardamom and star anise
5 x dried apricots
1.5 Tbsp dried cranberries
1 Tsp cardamom
2 x star anise
Option 2 – Dried fruit and spices
With this one we encourage you to get creative. What’s your favourite dessert that you can take inspiration from, or do you love mulled wine? Think of some different flavour combo’s or have a look at your local tea shop for inspiration. We used a mixture we found at the local market – dried blueberries, florals and citrus rind.
Option 3 – your favourite dried tea (Butterfly Pea Flower)
Tea is so packed with flavour that it can be really fun to use for infusions. Tea leaves is our recommendation and your local tea shop is bound to have a ton. Herbal teas are the way to start and then move onto experimenting with some more floral teas like Green or Earl Grey. We used the dried Butterfly Pea Flower tea mix in ours, it’s so pretty we couldn’t go past it!
Option 4 – Lemon, ginger and mint
Half a lemon, sliced
6 x mint leaves
2 cm of ginger roughly chopped (this can very dependent on your love for ginger)
Put your infusion ingredients into a clean bottle or jar (warm water and detergent are fine to clean them as we’re using alcohol) and gently pour in the vodka.
Seal and set in a relatively temperature regulated and dark spot, we recommend the back of the pantry or cupboard.
Leave for one week.
Test the flavour after one week by pouring a small amount into a shot glass; swirl, sniff and sip.
- Want it stronger? Leave it another week, after a week follow Step 3.
- Want it sweeter? Add some simple sugar syrup (If using 250 ml bottles, add 1 Tsp)
- Just right? Pour through a strainer to remove the infusion ingredients and then put the liquid back into the bottle. Leave this another week to allow the flavours to settle.
- Add 1 cup of water and 1 cup of white sugar (or brown if you prefer a more caramelised flavour!) into a saucepan.
- Heat the ingredients on a medium heat until dissolved, stir regularly.
- Once the liquid is completely clear remove from the heat and allow to cool. This will make around 1.5 cups of sugar syrup.
- Store in the fridge for up to 4 weeks in an airtight container