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Berry Infused Vodka

Still riding the high of my recent LET’S-MAKE-EVERYTHING-FROM-SCRATCH! revelation I decided it was time for a little home alchemy thanks to a friend who, in exchange for my photographic services, presented me with a rather large bottle of vodka. Lovely.

Berry Infused Vodka

Berry Infused Vodka

After trawling the internet regarding the best methods of home infusion I shrugged and tumbled everything into a tub for steeping; I’m talking strawberries, blueberries, lemon rind, sugar syrup, a cinnamon stick and the most potent vanilla bean I have ever had the pleasure of using to create this DIY berry infused vodka.

Berry Infused Vodka

The only difficult step to this process is waiting. I kept this tub in a dark place for three weeks after which time it looked a little something like this; the vodka had completely stripped the berries of their colour and little vanilla bits were floating everywhere. Straining this concoction was incredibly ugly (NOTE: no matter how tempted you are, do not eat the berries; your brain will melt out of your ears if you do).

Berry Infused VodkaBerry Infused Vodka

After further cheesecloth straining I funnelled my wonderful liquor into glass bottles. The result? The most intensely delicious vanilla. Vibrant red and fragrant berry flavours. This was one of those times a pilot experiment has lead to immeasurable happiness!

Berry Infused Vodka

Now, what to do with such a special brew? Keep it simple; one shot over ice, lemonade, freshly sliced strawberries to garnish. This drink is girly as all heck but is so absolutely special I’m convinced the boys will be more than willing to drink this over, and over again. Welcome to vodka with style!

Berry Infused Vodka

EDIT: my brother, my dad and my boyfriend love this so yes, it is a blaring manly success!

 

 

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Fancy beers and candy making. This new, almost-obsession of mine would not be possible without the influence of my boyfriend, the boutique beer connoisseur slash home-brewer, who has taught me there is life outside of gaging over Coronas.

This little experiment is testament to the cliché “if at first you don’t succeed; try, try, try again”. My first attempt tasted spectacular but didn’t set. My second attempt set however lacked that caramely-smack-in-the-mouth (is that even a thing? It is now). My third attempt, thank goodness, was wonderful!

The beer I’m using is a framboise; a lambic beer brewed with raspberries. Timmermans is a more syrupy beer than most which makes for a fantastic ingredient in this recipe (if you’re eager to enjoy one in its pure form however I would recommend a Lindemans Framboise for its tangy edge. Mmm).

Combined with caramels, you’ll get sweet, salty, tangy and berry all in one mouthful. Heavenly. And the best advice I can give before you begin this delicious journey into sticky bliss; follow the recipe to a tee! The figures are there for a reason. I’ve based my recipe from this spiced apple recipe as it allows room for variation. Bust out your candy thermometers, things are about to get messy.

 

HOME MADE SALTED FRAMBOISE CARAMELS

2 cups (or 1 bottle) Framboise beer

2/3 cups cream

1 tsp salt + more for garnish

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/4 cups corn syrup / glucose

80 g butter, cubed

powdered red food colouring

1. Pour framboise into small pan and simmer over medium heat until reduced to 1/3 cup. Place in fridge (or freezer) to cool.

2. Line a square tin with baking paper. Once your reduced framboise has cooled, combine with cream, salt and food colouring.

3. Combine sugar and corn syrup over low heat until dissolved. Increase heat until syrup has caramelised – 112°C on your candy thermometer. Do not stir during this process or the syrup will crystallise.

4. Remove from heat and slowly pour in your cream mixture, stirring quickly as you do so. Be careful has the concoction will splutter everywhere. Continue to stir to break up the caramel ball formed whilst adding the cubed butter. Don’t worry if you’re unable to dissolve everything.

5. Return to low heat and stir frequently until the temperature reaches 120°C on your candy thermometer.

6. Pour caramel into prepared tin and allow to cool slightly. Sprinkle with rock salt and allow to cool completely – either overnight on your kitchen bench or in the fridge to speed up the process. Cut into small squared and wrap with baking paper, twisting at the ends like traditional candies. Sprinkle with more rock salt if desired.


Being married into beer culture can be pretty neat sometimes.

 

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