For Christmas, my partner and I bought ourselves a still to make spirits. This is perfectly legal where we live. We just can’t sell the finished product. We’ve brewed a first sugar wash and distilled about 7 litres of ~60% ABV spirit (I guess it’s technically rum)
I’m interested in making good gin, amaro, and all the components of a negroni. I’ve been using this blog post (Amaro Valencia (with a pinch of algebra) – Simple as That!)for a reference. I want to work with local ingredients, inspired by some of the local boutique gins (Kawakawa Gin) and liqueurs (Bitter Aperitivo).
I now have 20 little bottles full of strange tinctures ranging from kawakawa leaf to chinchona bark. I’ve also got some larger jars of toasted manuka wood, mandarin peel, sultanas and so on sitting on the kitchen bench. From these I’ve been blending some strange and mostly very tasty mixtures. The 8-year old self who didn’t know whether she wanted to grow up to be a witch, a chef or a chemist is having lots of fun.
The cocktail shown at the top is based on a recipe for Myrtle’s apple martini from the Guardian cocktail of the week. I’ve renamed mine “Newton’s Downfall” as the apples I used to make the apple shrub part came from a local tree that is said to be grown from either pips or a cutting from an apple tree at Bushy House near London. The Bushy House tree is, in turn, said to descend from an apple tree at Woolsthrope Manor. Issac Newton saw an apple fall from this tree in the summer of 1666 and this started him thinking about the nature of gravity. Hence my cocktail name.
Fruit Shrubs are an old-fashioned type of fruit drink made with vinegar, fruit and sugar. I used feijoa vinegar I made several years ago. It’s almost feijoa season again and I’ll post that recipe when I make the next batch.
makes about 1 cup
1 c feijoa vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
½ c sugar (could reduce this a bit, depends on vinegar and taste)
2 grated apples including skin
Mix together and leave at room temperature for 2 days, refrigerate for another 3-4 days. Strain. This will keep in the fridge until the next part is ready.
Mandarin and Rhubarb liqueur
makes about 1 cup
Peel from 2 to 3 mandarins
3 stalks of rhubarb
1 c of neutral spirit (or high proof vodka)
Slice and lightly cook the rhubarb (~3 mins in microwave?). Put everything in jar. If you can, put the cooked rhubarb in a tea strainer. This makes the whole mix easier to strain later. After 2 weeks, strain through a fine metal coffee strainer or similar. If the alcohol you stated was high proof, dilute down to 30 to 40% ABV with water. I started with 60% ABV so I added a cup of water. The mixture will probably go cloudy (louche) due to the oil content of the peel, but the finished cocktail will be cloudy from the shrub part anyway.
Mix equal parts apple shrub and liqueur in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, decorate with a slice of apple and drink while contemplating how useful gravity is.