29 December 2011

drinking peppermint schnapps with jackie wilson and sam cooke...

So Christmas has been packed up and put back in the cupboard where you keep the Christmas things. The giant ham from lunch on the big day is being slowly whittled down with each leftovers-based meal, and the wrapping paper has had its sellotape pieces peeled off and been respectfully folded and put away to be used for next year's presents.

I've spent a joyful few days like this: 


Lying on the couch in a remarkably realistic small cat costume. Jokes! I've been lying on the couch at home reading a Julie Andrews biography and mucking round online and sleeping in. And feeling sufficiently emboldened to ask Mum and Dad "say, do you guys want to watch Parks and Recreation? It's so amazingpleaselikeitIloveitsomuch." (Result: we did watch an episode, they liked it!)

Now that I'm back in Wellington - briefly, before taking off for a sure-to-be-blissful New Years with friends and then back up home to go camping with whanau in the same place we've camped since 1986 - my thoughts turn to resourceful things, like...could I dissolve all our leftover candy canes in vodka, to form homemade peppermint schnapps? The sugar content of the candy canes would surely soften the taste and the peppermint flavour would give it icy edge. 


Well, it worked. Spookily fast, the candy canes let go of their stripes and stain the vodka and glowing electric pink. By the next morning, there was no trace of them. How practical is a jar full of liquor that tastes like toothpaste and is filled with red food colouring? Um, not overly. But as with all funny liqueurs, you can find a use for them. Be it a punchily minty hot chocolate or...a punchily minty hot chocolate. Any ideas? But the cool thing about this is how instant it is, so if you get moving, you can have yourself a cute bottle of peppermint schnapps to see in the new year with. 


Spot the new-old plate that I picked up from home. New to me, old because it belonged to my dad's mum. The vodka you get doesn't need to be fancy - if the price of one litre of it is the same price as 750mls of another brand, then it's probably about right - but make sure it's vaguely drinkable. I have a feeling the stuff I got was a little too rough-edged, however I figure another night in the jar will mellow it out a little and let the sugar soften it up.


Homemade Peppermint Schnapps

1 litre vodka
10 or more candy canes

Find an airtight jar (non-plastic) that will fit 1 litre of liquid. Unwrap the candy canes, pile them into the jar, then pour over the vodka. Leave a couple of days if you can, but at least overnight. 

There was indeed more than one bottle of homemade drinks in the first photo. This one's not nearly as instant, but what it lacks in speed it makes up for in visual novelty value. Like, it looks like you're incubating an alien baby or something. It's a great conversation starter. I found out about Forty-Four, as it's known, in the Food Thesaurus book. You take an orange, make 44 cuts in it, push a coffee bean into each slice, and place in a jar with 44 teaspoons of sugar. Cover with brandy or vodka (I used vodka) and leave for forty-four days. On the forty-fourth day, remove the orange, cut it in half and squeeze the juice into the jar, leave for a day and then finally you're good.


I kept forgetting to make this, so it has really only been sitting for 22 days, but I'd like to think it's more or less where it needs to be.


There's no way you're going to get this before New Years, no matter how fast you move, however if you feel like a little project and something to look forward to, then feel free to try this too for fun times in the nearish future. The long sitting allows the sugar to slowly absorb into the resinous syrupy vodka, along with the intense oil from the pores of the orange skin and the coffee beans. At first all you taste is orange, followed quickly by a warm, slightly bitter hit of coffee. It might sound unusual but it's a pretty brilliant combination. 


Normally I try to keep it real on here - like, none of the photos are staged. If you see something in a photo, that's how I was going to consume it. But at the start of the day and with heaps to get done I had to concede to pouring myself a drink I was going to tip right back into the jar. The schnapps was a little too underdeveloped by this point to slowly sip on its own, so I tried - for lack of anything better - mixing it with lemonade. It tasted weirdly good. But I might need to test it a couple more times before the verdict graduates into "definitely good". Appropriately I also made cakeballs today, out of some leftover cake crumbled and rolled together with leftover cream cheese icing and melted white chocolate, and, for good measure, some raspberry flavouring. Two novelties are better than one, after all. 

Tim and I will be taking these two fine-ish liqueurs out to the house we're renting with some dear friends over New Years. Even though I prefer my liquor to be as dry as dry can be, I also find it very hard to say no to a novelty recipe. My head is all "what about Sour Coke Bottle Vodka? What about Orange Jellybean Vodka?" while my heart is like "you don't like sugary drinks, fool." And then my head replies with "But the pretty colours!" And I guess it's obvious by now which organ won the battle.
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Title via: the quietly appealing 2pac song Thugz Mansion featuring Nas and J.Phoenix. 
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Music lately: 

Ethel Merman, There's No Business Like Show Business. There's something I find strangely comforting about her brassy, intense voice. And this song is amazing.

Kate Nash, Foundations. I never really got into her first time round but can't stop listening to her debut album after hearing it properly recently. Like...daily. I know.
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Next time: I hope you all have a safe and happy New Years. I'll see you in 2012 with something non-novelty, I promise.

25 comments:

  1. 44 is awesome - I have just finished a jar, so next time I can afford vodka I will make more.

    Apropos your schnapps, I used to go to a bar that made a fabulous cocktail called a Triple Mint - loads of fresh mint muddled with a bit of sugar, peppermint schnapps and Koolmint-infused vodka and ice.

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  2. Totally novel idea, but what a good one! Have a great peppermint schnapps-fueled new years, all the best for 2012 xx

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  3. Glad you had a great Christmas! Drinks look lovely :) They would make great gifts... Have a wonderful new year celebration!

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  4. Sounds like the perfect thing for a wild new year celebration. Hope you have a marvellous time.

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  5. That Forty-four looks...life-changing. Project time!

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  6. All bow down before the alcohol magician! And then distract her with Ron Swanson impersonations so we can throw out the orange abomination! :P (Naughty naughty. I'm sure it's lovely, if you're into that kind of thing.)

    Happy New Year, beautiful! Can't wait to discover even more of the life-aspects that draw us together in destiny-friendship in 2012 :) xoxo

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    1. Oh yes, you don't like oranges, do you! All the more liqueur for me, mua ha ha. Will remember this fact-nugget for when we definitely-eventually meet though.

      Happy new year back to you, lovely Hannah!

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  7. Love the candycane-like straws, how appropriate :)

    Hope you have a fantastic New Year's celebration, all the best for 2012!!!

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  8. Hmmm I actually do have a box of candy canes leftover from Christmas...totally making homemade schnapps! Happy new year!

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  9. Love the idea of your peppermint schnapps. I made the "44" back in February - actually it featured in my very last post (along with my homemade bacon) before the big EQ. So my process of maturing it was a little different to the "give it a gentle shake every day for 44 day". Mine was more like shake gently for 7 days, then allow your bottle to be jettisoned at great force out of the cupboard and across the room (narrowly missing your head by just inches). If bottle survives allow it to roll around the floor for two months subjecting to more great force and vigorous shaking, then pack into a box, put in a dark place for 4 more months, subject to further vigorous and violent shaking on a regular basis, put box on a truck and allow bottle to travel for 600 kms, remove from box, marvel at gorgeous colour, and pour. Unfortunately the homemade bacon didn't survive so well in the process (barf). But the "44" is lovely and as well as enjoying the occasional nip or two on it's own over ice, I've also used it in lots of other things where I might ordinarily use an orange liqueur. Mmm, maybe I need to post my unique method for making this :-)

    Happy new year, Laura - hope it's a good one.

    Sue xo

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    1. Oh my gosh, Sue! I think I remember reading that post of yours, actually. So glad it made it through everything in order for you to be able to finally taste it! Happy new year to you too, Sue, may it be much more mellow than the last - as mellow as a long-matured liqueur! XX

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  10. No longer in Oxford KateJanuary 02, 2012

    I'm suddenly reminded of christmas presents I made with frozen berries and castor sugar in a pretty jar with brandy poured over. Leave for a month and voila - boozy berry compote. Gave away two jars before I tasted it myself (rookie mistake) to find myself eating something that could only be disturbingly alcoholic jam. No idea what those poor recipients did with it and too scared to ask...

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    1. 'things in jars' have a lot to answer for. Still, sounds rather wonderful in an intense way...

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  11. happy new year!

    that picture of the cat is precisely how I would like to be spending my first week of January :)

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  12. I was cleaning up the kitchen today and tripped over, yet again, three bottles of vodka bought at the ever-tempting, ever-pushy Duty Free in Auckland. "Why on earth do I buy so much vodka at Duty Free?" I wondered. And then I remembered the boozenberries, the Japanese quince liquor, the amazing vanilla essence resting, infusing in the pantry. Now I'm inspired to make a coffee bean, cinnamon and clove vodka for 2012's mid winter turkey extravaganza. Thank you!

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    1. Boozenberries! Tee hee. Your midwinter turkey extravaganza sounds absolutely incredible, as does the coffee-cinnamon-clove combination. I wish I had another duty-free opportunity coming up!

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  13. very cool!! I think I might have to try the 44!!

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    1. Dooo it, it's worth the wait for sure :)

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  14. This is such a good idea! I need to start experimenting in this area a bit more!

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    1. It's so much fun, I need to find some kind of bulk vodka supply though or it'll start to hurt my bank account!

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  15. Now that 44 sounds intriguing....thinking that would be more my thning than camdy canes....though that colour is sooo appealing it probably would no doubt entice me in for a tipple!

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  16. Great, a way to get rid of all my nasty candy canes! Now if only I hadn't finished the vodka up last night...

    The Forty-Four intrigues me so much. Orange and coffee? Weird, weird, weird; yum?

    I'll make this, as soon as I buy more vodka, and move to my new home (to avoid making the same mistake made in the long comment above me:)

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    1. I know, right? Coffee, orange, together? But it really works. Reeeally and truly :)

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  17. oh sweet sweet nectar! delicious. i need to make some more infused spririts. i attempted some spearmint vodka in 2010 and the whole lot turned brown and rather unsavoury in general. plus i think it was ultra strong because i got a terrible hangover the one time i tried it.

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    1. This peppermint stuff was pretty aggressive - I think I should've used a nicer vodka! Still extremely drinkable though. Am so enthused to make a million different flavours now :)

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