Elle (South Africa) - - INSPIRE -

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.


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.

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