Category Archives: Drinks

Have a look at my plums.

Disclaimer – Yes, I know plums are funny. Yes I know I have double entendred myself to within an inch of my life. ENJOY!

Seasonal stuff going on here on partyspanner at the moment, and so we turn to fruit in the back garden. It’s not yet time for the quince to fruit but the plum tree is groaning with goodness.

HEAVING with fruit

Rather predictably my mind turns not to plum tarts or plum jam (although I am planning on making some spicy jam in the next few weeks) but instead I have decided to make some plum schnapps. Yes, yes I know I went on and on about blackberry vodka but the thing is, it’s easy to make and once again serves as a great drink to serve at Christmas.

In for a penny in for a pound of plums as they say.

A handful of plums

I used approximately 20 plums, halving them and removing the stone before placing them into a kilner jar.

A work in progress

And so, the plums go into the Kilner jar before being topped up with 70cl of vodka.

Just gorgeous!

Off this jar goes to a dark place, to be occasionally brought out and shaken, for at least 3 months. It will join it’s cousin, the blackberry vodka, in imprisonment. I almost feel a bit sad.

Farewell, sweet, soft fruits. Farewell. *sob*

I’m planning on checking on these (taste test obv) in late november. Until then, Good luck to you, my vodka friends. *salute*

The “C” Word

Christmas.

Wait!

Before you run off screaming into the hinterlands of the internet just bear with me.

It’s harvest season for blackberries NOW. These little bubbles of jet are hanging from thorny bushes as we speak and they are not only taste GREAT, but they’re FREE! FREE!

ALL FREE!

These bushes tend to grow (or rather not have been cut down) near railway lines, rivers or woodlands. I found this lovely harvest in a local green space but I have already had quite a good crop from the bushes which grow right next to the office that I work in. Ree-sult.

If you can’t be arsed to go blackberry picking then you can buy punnetts from your local supermarket. Don’t do this.

NOT FREE. In fact very expensive.

I would estimate that my haul would have cost about £30.00. Here it is:

COR!

I expect you’re wondering what all of this has to do with Christmas? Well the answer lies in the kilner jar.

Oh yes, we’re about to make some blackberry schnapps. Using fresh, wild blackberries. Aren’t I the annoying food wanker?

This is such a simple recipe, but it will need at least 3 months to develop, and as the blackberry season is upon us it seems like some sort of madness not to listen to mother nature as she croons “make some serious booze for Christmas”. I’m a listener.

So, once you’ve picked your blackberries – and ignored any jeering or pointing that may occur – they are going to need a VERY good wash.

I bung them in a colander under gently running cold water and GENTLY pick up a handful at a time and give them a jolly good swish. This fruit is crazy delicate so you must treat them as you would an elderly relative. (Make sure the water is warm in their case though, please.)

Er, a bit more gently than this.

Once you’ve washed, and discarded any berries that are a bit iffy, then you need to dry them out a little bit. Just place the washed berries onto some kitchen roll and leave them for half an hour.

Their fate awaits.

Once the berries have dried off, tumble them into a clean kilner jar. I have filled mine 3/4 of the way full of fruit. Then pour on vodka (as you can see I’m still using the old cheap version – honestly it’s a waste of money to use more expensive brands), secure the lid and leave in a cool dark place, shaking occasionally.

A thing of beauty

I haven’t added anything else. I am thinking that  a vanilla pod would be nice and maybe some sugar, but I’m just going to let it be for a month before adding anything further.

Why not join with me. Become. Become like me and make some booze for Christmas even though it’s only August. DO IT.

do it.

When life gives you lemons – make sherbet lemon vodka jelly shots

I’ve got loads of stuff to tell you, but I’m going to start with waffling on about the amazing jelly shots I made for a dinner party I had a couple of weeks ago.

If you’ve ever read my blog before, then you know how to make flavoured vodka in a dishwasher. I’m trying to remember what inspired me to make a sherbet lemon flavoured vodka, but unfortunately I’ve drunk too much lemon sherbet vodka and it’s melted that section of my brain.

I used four packs of old fashioned sherbet lemon sweets – Sainsbury’s sell the old fashioned “quarter” sweets. These are perfect, four bags of these to one bottle of Sainsbury’s basic vodka (750cl) is my recommended dose recipe

Smashy smashy

So, smash the sweets up and place them all in your kilner jar.

I love this next photo. I clearly felt at this moment that the watermelon and bare breasted statue SAID something

ART!

I think the most we can gather from this is that I was already intoxicated.

Right so – blah blah, add the vodka, stick it in the dishwasher, shake it regularly while it cools. Read the link.

This vodka did not need filtering so while it cooled, I melted four leaves of gelatin in some hot water.

Melting gelatin leaves

This was a disaster! The water was far too hot and the gelatin instantly set, I ended up with a jug of stiff horribleness.

I started again using warm water and poking at it.

Melt, Melt, Melt!

Once I had a jug of soft gelatin leaves I added half a pint of hot lemon sherbet vodka and stirred vigourously.

It's gloopy

I like my jelly shots to be quite hard *face*. Depending on your preference, you could add more vodka liquid to make a more wobbly consistency, 3/4 of a pint to 4 leaves of gelatin would be pretty good.

I poured the jelly into espresso cups. I’m a bit of a wanker, let’s face it!

Hipster

I would love to show you a picture of these babies turned out onto a plate with a dusting of lemon sherbet and a little bon-bon in the front of the shot and OH MY GOD.

I can’t though because I made these and then I tried one and then the rest of my life since is a blur.

Give it a go – or don’t *aggressive*

Christmas Booze – Part Eleventy (New Super Quick Method!)

I. Am. Obsessed.

Obsessed with flavoured alcohols.

At this rate my entire family (including the children) will be completely and utterly spangled by lunchtime of Christmas Day. (HEY! Sounds like a plan)

As my Werther’s Original Vodka winged their way to family members I realised that I was now a couple of gift bottles short – Catastrophe!

The Christmas Pudding Rum lurks maelvolently in the back of the cupboard, refusing to taste like anything other than rum.

Look at it - SINISTER

And so, I decided to try the top tip of speeding up the process of sweetie dissolution via Dishwasher. Oooh. Yeah, that’s right if you have a dishwasher and an airtight jar (Kilner preferably) you too can make some flavoured vodka in a matter of hours!

Amazing!

I decided after a quick twitter poll (@partyspanner) that Chocolate Lime Vodka would go down a TREAT.

Ah, Chocolate Limes – the sweet of elderly relatives and strange men who wanted to show you their puppies.

I bought a cheap bottle of vodka (750 ml) and two bags of chocolate Limes.

WayHey!

I got rid of some pointless aggression by smashing the living crap out of the sweets before adding them to the kilner jar. Quite the therapy I’m sure you’ll agree.

Smashed to buggery

I added the vodka, and now for the genius part. I sealed the jar, gave it a good shake and added to the dishwasher load. I used the bottom rack to make sure the container stayed upright (which will be more than can be said for me come the party season).

Snug and ready to boil

Now, the top tip I had received didn’t specify whether the dishwasher cycle should include soap, but in these financially straitened times I decided to wash my dishes and include the vodka in the load – therefore needing to add a dishwasher tablet. You will need to use your hottest wash cycle – and to be honest it seems not only to make more sense financially to add the jar of alcohol to a full load; but also *earnest face* for the planet, yeah? *wafts patchouli*

I must admit to being a little bit concerned as the dishwasher clanked and bubbled away.

There was no need. Once the cycle had completed I had lovely clean dishes and this:

Steamy!

DON’T make the mistake I made of having a sniff while the liquid is still hot – the fumes will make your eyes water and your BRANE GO RONG.

See that large amount of chocolate limey sediment in the bottom? Do Not Worry.

All you need to do is keep shaking the jar every hour – or half an hour if you can – and the heat of the vodka will continue to melt the sweets and dissolve all the sediment away.

After the first hour:

First Hour after Dishwasher

Second Hour after leaving Dishwasher:

Keep shaking regularly!

Third Hour:

Almost there!

Three and a half hours:

As near as dammit

And after four hours I was ready to filter the stuff.

My record of filtering flavoured alcohol is…sporadic to say the least ..but this one really needed a jolly good filtering. My poor old brain finally worked out that if I emptied the liquid from the jar into a large measuring jar and then placed the funnel and coffee filter paper into the now empty Kilner Jar, I can pour the unfiltered stuff through the funnel and just walk away and do something else until it is finished.

Yes, Yes, I know it's obvious...

It took about 40 minutes to filter the whole batch but it left me with a clear mix which goes down smoothly. Oh yes.

I bottled up:

Sticky! - notice the washcloth ready for any spills.

And now have three bottles (and a small jam jar – don’t ask) of gorgeously chocolatey, evocatively flavoured vodka to give as gifts (and add to my Christmas Day Liquour Tour)

After Resting for an hour

I utterly adore that little seam of chocolate at the top of the bottles and am delighted with the result.

So – if you’ve wanted to take a stab at making some flavoured alcohol, but have either refused to take my previous advice, or haven’t had time, or are stumbling onto my blog for my first time – be of good cheer! You too can have some sickly sweet vodka in just a few hours by following this advice!

Good luck and please let me know of any flavour combinations you come up with.

Werther’s Original Vodka

At last! It is ready and amazingly tasty too.

So I finally have a definitive recipe for you all. To make a lovely litre of werther’s original vodka you will need:

1 Litre of vodka

4 x large bags of Werther’s Originals.

Check out the method by looking here

I decided not to filter this one, after starting to do so and it taking AGES and it not making a huge difference to the consistency of the booze.

I wrote some labels (adding the tip to shake the bottle before serving!) and made the bottles look pretty by attaching bows.

So Christmassy!

I then poured the vodka into the bottles using my trusty funnel and they’re ready to go!

Fabulous!

I also have my own personal bottle to tuck away with the rhubarb and custard and parma violet versions.

The Christmas Pudding rum is still not ready. I have added a handful of sugar, a handful of raisins and another of currents and a shaking of flaked almonds. I’ve still got 3 weeks and I’m hoping it’s going to come together by Christmas day.

You’ve still got time to make some flavoured vodka though – I’m going to try a batch of Chocolate Lime Vodka next…

Christmas Booze – Week Four

To get started look here for week one

and here for week two

I know there’s no week three, but that’s because nothing much was happening.

The Werther’s Original Vodka is doing OK, it’s still very vodka-y so I will be adding yet another bag of sweets to the mix this weekend (when I remember to buy them)

Before shaking

The Christmas Pudding Rum is..well, it needs something but I’m not sure quite what yet. I’m going to give it another week and then maybe add some more fruit, nuts and sugar.

Also before shaking - check out the sediment on this baby.

The Parma Violet Vodka is ready for filtering.

It smells like a pack of sweeties and tastes like twisted childhood memories.

It looks like a very naughty, slightly effeminate, Guinness

Filtering is the same process as in week two.

drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip

The first filtration left quite a lot of foam in the filter paper

I didn't taste it. (You know I did)

and a slight “scum” floating on the top of the liquid.

It looks a bit like mould. It isn't.

So I changed the filter paper and poured the liquid through again.

This time though, I went slightly bonkers at the end of the process (in my defence I was baking cakes at the same time and drinking wine was a little bit distracted) and squeezed the filter paper to get the last valuable drops of liquid out. What an idiot. Of course this squirted the foam straight through the paper, down the funnel and into the liquid and so I was onto a third filter paper and starting all over again. Top Tip – don’t do this.

Squeezed filter paper

So after a third (and self-inflicted) filtering the vodka was ready and bottled up.

Hmmm.

Now. As you can see I have lost half of my lovely, lovely vodka. Some of this can be attributed to the filtering process (by the final one I was starting to get a bit slapdash) some of the loss can be blamed on the tasting, and some on the initial pouring away of vodka to fit the sweets into the bottle.

It is fabulous though, and I will definitely be making more of this one.

The Rhubarb and custard vodka, bottled on the second week, remains clear and sediment free. It has become quite the party trick for visitors.

I play, “what’s the flavour?” and watch as they get steadily more pie-eyed while trying to locate that memory buried in the back of their childhood brains, of sweets sucked on a wet playground while Barry Tilner chased them for a kiss.

Now, just to get that Christmas Pudding Rum tasting as good as it smells (It’s going in the Christmas pudding this weekend, ready or not)

Christmas Booze – Week Two

So week two eh? That came around a bit quickly didn’t it?

Just like Christmas will – be warned! I have already seen two houses decorated with Christmas lights and Christmas trees, admittedly these homeowners are clearly insane, but if you want some tasty, tasty booze ready to give as presents or drink yourself crying while listening to “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” then you’d better get on with it.

Head over to week one to get started.

I’ve been shaking the jars everyday, and having a good sniff. Let’s have a look

Whoa there Parma Violet - what you up to then?

The Christmas Pudding Rum is coming along nicely, but as the flavouring comes from natural ingredients, this one will take the longest to mature.

Remember that this was a white rum when we first started

The Werther’s Original Vodka just smells and tastes of vodka (which is fine itself) but I want this to be really tasty, so I’m going to add some more Werther’s. A whole large bag would be good (I’ve only got three quarters of a bag left, thanks to the Werther’s pixies who sneak in once night falls and snaffle them, leaving their golden wrappers in Oliver’s bed. DAMN THEM)

The colour's looking good; now to get the taste.

The Parma Violet Vodka is looking…well, a bit grim actually, and smells of nothing but vodka.

Hmmm. FOAMY.

The bottle lid has lost it’s thread, so I’m going to transfer this mixture to a fresh bottle (sterilised) and add some more parma violets.

A whole tube of large parma violets

The Rhubarb and Custard Vodka looks, smells and tastes fantastic, and is ready for bottling.

All the rest of the drinks are heading back into the cupboard for another week of daily agitation (an almost perfect description of my working life there)

Did I mention that everything should be kept in a dark place? Well it should.

Bottling up.

You’ll need some coffee filters, a funnel, a large jug and some bottles (duh). I got mine from Jamtastic and they were delivered quickly with no problems at all.

I LOVE MY FUNNEL. *cough*

Place a coffee filter into the head (is that the right word?) of the funnel and pour vodka into filter, allow to drain through slowly.

It takes longer than you'd think for the liquid to filter through.

Now, this particular flavoured vodka only required one filtering (I think – but as this one is an experimental batch we’ll check that there’s no sediment in the finished bottle next week) but be prepared to repeat this process if your vodka still looks cloudy or any way unpleasant.

I’m looking at you Parma Violet Vodka.

I poured my finished drink of certain drunkenness into a fresh, sterilised bottle and labelled it up.

Aw. Pretty. (Potent).

I haven’t drunk half of it by the way, that’s the amount extracted; remember that I needed to pour a little vodka out when flavouring in order to put the sweets in – This can be solved by flavouring in kilner jars.

So, cheers! and here’s to next week.