Cherry season is May through August - which is now! Go get ya some! And when you’re thinking of all the wonderful things you can do with them, don’t forget you can get them drunk. Spiced brandied cherries will dress up any cocktail or dessert and are sweet to give as a gift. And they’re unbelievably easy to make. Pitting them is the hardest part but there are many tricks out there.
Here is the recipe I used from local foods.about.com:
- 1 1/2 lb. cherries
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 4 cardamom pods
- 2 whole cloves
- 2 whole allspice
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 cup brandy
- 1-quart jar with lid
- Pit the cherries and set them aside.
- In a medium saucepan bring sugar water, lemon juice, and spices to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook until the mixture is slightly reduced and thickened, about 10 minutes.
- Turn off the heat. Stir in the brandy and the pitted cherries.
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cherries to a 1-quart jar. Pour enough of the cooking liquid over the cherries to cover them completely. Twist on lid.
- Process in boiling water for 10 minutes, let cool, and store in a cool, dark place (such as a cupboard) for at least 6 weeks before using. Once opened, keep chilled. Alternatively, you can forgo the hot-water processing and store in the refrigerator.
It’s about time I jumped on the Boozy Pops bandwagon. I was first inspired to go for it when I saw the People’s Pops: 55 Recipes from Brooklyn’s Coolest Pop Shop recipe book (which I don’t own, feel free to send me a copy!). Since the book wasn’t available yet I searched the internets and discovered a plethora of recipes, but the one that always got the best reviews was the Bittersweet Chocolate Bourbon Pop. And ya’ll know I love me some Bulleit Bourbon. The ingredients and directions are simple, but the pop is a rich chocolatey sin, with just a tease of bourbon flavor to savor.
Here’s the recipe from Finecooking.com:
+ 1/2 cup granulated sugar
+ 3-1/2 oz. bittersweet chocolate (70% to 72%), chopped
+ 2 Tbs. Dutch-processed cocoa powder
+ 1/8 tsp. table salt
+ 2 Tbs. good-quality bourbon
Directions: Put the sugar, chocolate, cocoa powder, salt, and 2 cups water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Transfer to a 4-cup glass measure (or any container with a spout for easy pouring). Let cool at room temperature for 30 minutes. Stir in the bourbon and divide the mixture among eight 3-oz. pop molds or wax-lined paper cups. Freeze until just set, about 3 hours. Insert craft sticks and freeze until completely set, about 4 hours more. When ready to serve, unmold or peel off the paper cups.
Side note : The mold I purchased was the Norpro Ice Pop Maker, which I have absolutely no complaints about. But I do recommend reading the user reviews for tips on how to use it the most efficiently.
Unfortunately for me Lush Husband is abstaining from alcohol for Lent (and soda, what a bummer). I’ve really missed my drinking buddy BUT he has been infusing some fantastic creations in preparation for his reunion with booze. This includes a jalapeño tequila, sour cherry mezcal, and a Blackberry Mezcal. The smokiness of the mezcal is going to pair nicely with the sweet and tarty berry. You know what family is going to be drunk after church this Easter? This one!
Why pay for what you can make?
Homemade Bourbon Vanilla Extract (by The Boozy Baker)
+ 3 Vanilla Beans
+ 1 cup Bourbon
Split the vanilla beans in half and add to a jar. Pour the bourbon over the vanilla beans. Close the jar and shake a few good times. Store in a dark place for 8 weeks, shaking occasionally. The extract will darken over time. There is no need to remove the vanilla beans. This can be used in place of vanilla extract in any recipe!
With a bottle of Chambord by my side, it was a very merry Christmas indeed. I am working my way through the recipes on the attached booklet, and this one was magnifique.
+ 1 oz Vodka
+ .5 oz Chambord
+ .5 oz Orange Liqueur
+ 1.25 oz Cranberry Juice
+ .25 oz Fresh Lime Juice
Shake with ice and strain into a martini glass. If you want to get really snazzy, garnish with raspberries.
Photo credit: Lush Lady
Strangely enough, my winter bev of choice has been a vodka tonic. It’s a simple drink, so I didn’t think there was much room for creativity. Then I stumbled upon this recipe for homemade tonic water. The basis of the recipe is boiling down the flavors (allspice, citrus, lemongrass, etc) into a syrup, which you then carbonate. The only thing I’m missing to make it is a soda siphon/maker. Once I get one I’ll try it!
Photo credit: Jeffrey Morgenthaler
I am definitely going to try out this recipe this holiday season. I will let you know how it goes!
Candy Cane Martini Jello Shots (original recipe here)
+ 2/3 cup water
+ 1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
+ 2 envelopes plain gelatin
+ 3/4 cup vanilla vodka
+ 2 tbsp white chocolate liqueur (or white creme de cacao)
+ 3 tbsp peppermint schnapps (or to taste - up to 4 tbsp may be added
+10 each small peppermint candies, or candy canes, crushed, for garnish (if desired)
+ Recommended pan: glass or non-reactive metal standard 1 lb loaf pan (approximately 8” x 4”)
- Pour water into a small saucepan. Sprinkle with the gelatin and allow to soak for a minute or two. Heat over very low heat, stirring constantly, until gelatin is dissolved (about 5 minutes). Stir in sweetened condensed milk. Remove from heat.
- Add the vodka, liqueur and schnapps, stirring well to incorporate. Pour into pan and refrigerate until fully set, several hours or overnight.
- To serve, cut into 1 inch squares.
- Immediately before serving, garnish with crushed peppermint candies, if desired.
Photo credit: JellysHottestKitchen