Wouldn't it be nice to wake up Christmas morning to fluffy pancakes with your choice of cranberry or pear syrup? Or perhaps, if it's not too naughty, you'd prefer to start the day's festivities wit...
3 medium-sized oranges
1 cinnamon stick
2 whole pieces star anise
1 tablespoon allspice
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
1 teaspoon fennel seed
3 cardamom pods
2 cups vodka or white whiskey
Preheat oven to 200F. Cut the peel from the oranges (reserve the oranges for another use) and place them onto a parchment- lined baking sheet. Bake the peel for 2½ to 3 hours or until dried.
Place the orange peel, spices and alcohol into a clean glass jar. Tightly secure a lid and place into a cool, dark place for about 3 weeks, turning the jar over every other day. After 3 weeks, strain the contents of the jar through cheesecloth into another clean jar or bowl. At this point the bitters can be used as is or, for less-potent bitters, place the orange peel and spices into a small pot with a cup of water. Bring the liquid up to a simmer then turn off the heat. Allow the peel and spices to steep for another 3 to 4 hours. Strain the liquid through cheesecloth into the alcohol mixture. Keep the bitters in a clean glass container and mix into your favourite cocktails.
3 cups vodka
1/3 cup dark roast coffee beans, crushed
optional: 1 vanilla bean, ½ cup simple syrup
Candy cane vodka
3 cups vodka
8 candy canes
Blackberry sage vodka
3 cups vodka
2 cups blackberries (or your favourite fruit)
2 sage leaves
simple syrup to taste
Prepare the ingredients before infusing — wash and cut fruit, break candy or coffee beans into smaller pieces.
Using a clean jar, pour the vodka over the flavouring ingredients and tightly secure the lid. Keep the bottle in a cool dark place for 3 to 5 days, shaking the jar occasionally. Taste test periodically to ensure the infusion doesn't go too far, becoming bitter.
When the flavour is to your taste, use a fine-mesh sieve to strain the vodka into a bowl and discard the other ingredients.
Add honey or simple syrup, if you like it sweeter and more like a liqueur. To make simple syrup, boil 1 cup of water with 1 cup granulated sugar until the sugar has dissolved and let cool. Pour into clean jars or bottles with tight-fitting lids.
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