MAKE YOUR OWN MOONSHINE
We all know the drama that comes with stretching your December pay-cheque enough to cover all the gifting, partying and back-to-reality necessities of January. And we know that you stare at those tempting drinks with intriguing flavours on store shelves because we stare at them too. So, to keep the party (and our bank balances) alive, we recommend making some of your own. Infusion is as old as time and all you need is a knife, some fruit or spices, a bit of patience and, of course, booze. Luckily, cheaper clear spirits, such as that old favourite, Gordon’s Gin, are actually the best ones to use because of their clean flavours. When it comes to ingredients, natural is best. Citrus fruits work particularly well: peel them, then use strips of the rind and pop them into the spirit bottles of your choice for one to three days, until you’re happy with their flavour. The same goes for spices and teas. Each fruit or infusion is different, but the flavours become stronger the longer you leave them, so taste them over time to ensure you get the results you want.
HERE’S A BASIC GUIDE TO INFUSION TIMES: One to two hours:
Chillies. Be careful, since some infuse faster than others and depending on the heat scale, the spirit can easily become ‘burnt’ and unpalatable. Three to four days: Herbs: Basil, mint, dill, garlic and thyme. Citrus fruits: Grapefruit, lemon, lime and oranges. Spices: Cinnamon, tarragon and vanilla bean. One week: Soft fruits and berries: Apples, blackberries, blueberries, melons, cherries, mangos, peaches, raspberries and strawberries. Milder herbs: Lavender and rosemary. Two weeks: Hardy, mild flavours: Pineapple, ginger and lemongrass. Now all you need do is experiment to see which combinations you like, whether these are classics like orange and cinnamon; lime and chilli; or lemon and rooibos, or if you’re feeling adventurous, something like seaweed vodka. Either way, you can now impress your friends with exotic drinks and present them with unusual gifts. Just don’t eat the fruit that comes out the bottle afterwards, as it’s harmful to your liver.