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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.

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…