Picture the scene: wind howling, rain pelting against the windows and you're wearing every jumper you own. Fancy a homemade sloe gin, blackberry vodka or honeyed bourbon, then?
Contrary to what you might think, flavouring your own booze isn’t just for geeky foodies, nor will you need any specialist equipment or obscure ingredients. In fact it's worryingly easy to make your own tasty alcoholic tipples at home ...
Three ingredients are all you need to make sloe gin, (that's gin, sloes (tiny wild plums) and sugar, btw) – oh, and some patience. The thing is, it's best made slowly with everything thrown in a jar and left for as long as possible (3 months min). Drink neat in dinky little glasses.
You've braved the weather, been blackberry picking, and now you need to use up those foraged fruits. Well, you could have them with granola and yogurt for brekkie ... or make blackberry vodka instead. It's the prettiest of pink tipples and turns inexpensive vodka into something a Russian oligarch might enjoy.
Sweet and velvety, the only problem with plum brandy is it can be a little too easy to drink. Go all sophisto with friends and serve in sherry glasses as an aperitif, add a dash to sparkling wine for quick pink fizz, or pour over vanilla ice cream. The leftover soaked boozy plums make a tasty addition to seasonal crumbles or bread and butter puds, too.
While a tot of rum ain't half bad, spiced rum is even better. Simply pour a bottle of the dark stuff into an airtight Kilner jar and throw in a few spices: star anise, vanilla pods, cloves ... whatever you fancy. Leave the booze to infuse for a fortnight, (shaking the jar every so often), then strain. Pour into little bottles with a vanilla pod for cute homemade gifts.
Brrr … it's cold outside and definitely hot toddy weather. Honeyed whiskies have a gentle sweetness and less of a kick than the normal stuff. Make your own by infusing a half-decent bourbon with natural honeycomb and enjoy straight up, on the rocks or in that hot toddy.