A trio of festive whisky ideas
Putting together Connosr Distilled is a tough job sometimes. With the first snow of the year swirling past the Connosr kitchen, and our copy of "Frank Sinatra - The Christmas Album" in the CD player, we tried out some recipes for your delectation...
Hot Whisky Mac with candied orange peel
Perfect for warming up after a evening of carol singing or a snowball fight. You'll need to prepare the candied orange peel in advance.
Ingredients for the orange peel:
- 2 oranges
- 450g caster sugar
- 150 ml water
- extra sugar for rolling
Method for the orange peel:
Score the orange peel from top to bottom to create four quarters. Slice off the top of the orange so you can get your fingers under each segment of peel and pull away. You won't need the orange flesh so set aside for use in another recipe.
Now cut the peel length ways into strips - we did ours about 8mm wide. Put the strips into a pan of cold water and bring to the boil to blanch the peel. This softens the texture and removes some of the tanginess. Drain the water. Repeat this blanching process twice more.
Now combine the 450g of sugar with the 150ml of water and bring to a simmer in a saucepan. Simmer for 8 minutes and then add the strips of peel. Leave on a gentle heat for 45 minutes - do not stir or disturb the peel. After 45 minutes the peel should be slightly translucent.
Remove the peel from the syrup and spread some more sugar on a plate. Tip the peel onto the plate of sugar and roll it to coat it in sugar granules. Any strips that have stuck together should separate.
Leave the strips to cool and dry for at least 5 hours. You can make these quite a way in advance as they keep for quite a while in a jar.
For the Whisky Mac
Add one part blended whisky - we used Teachers - to one part ginger wine - we used Stones. For an average measure put the Whisky Mac into the microwave for 15-20 seconds to warm through. Be careful as microwaves vary and we don't want you or your guests burning yourselves.
Place the glass on a saucer with a few pieces of the candied peel.
Cranberry and whisky granita
This dish is an ideal festive palate cleanser to serve between courses. We haven't used too much sugar in this recipe because we wanted the tartness of the cranberry to combine with the clean citrussy edge of our chosen whisky - Cutty Sark Blended Whisky - to create a fresh, cleansing course. You could use more sugar, and possibly a different whisky, if you wanted to serve this as a dessert.
Ingredients for the cranberry granita:
- 375g of fresh cranberries
- 200g caster sugar
- 100 - 150ml water
Method for the cranberry granita:
Put aside a few cranberries to use as a garnish. In a pan combine the rest of the cranberries, water and sugar - add a little extra water if it doesn't look as though there is enough. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 mins - until the cranberries are soft and the liquid is a deep red. Put the contents of the pan into a food processor and blitz for a few seconds.
Now pass the blitzed cranberries and syrup through a sieve into a dish. Ideally the bottom of the dish will be evenly spread with a layer of thick cranberry sauce. Cover the dish with film and place in a freezer. Once the liquid starts to freeze fork through every hour or so to create the granita texture and return to the freezer. Once this granita is ready it can stay in the freezer for a few days so you can prepare this in advance.
Ingredients for the whisky granita:
- 10g caster sugar
- 10ml fresh lemon juice
- 100ml water
- 50ml of whisky
Method for the whisky granita:
Add the water and sugar to pan and warm over a gentle heat until the sugar combines with the water. Remove from the heat stir in the whisky and lemon juice. Leave to one side until cool. Once cool pour into a dish, cover and freeze - forking through to create the granita as above.
Cool some tall shot glasses in the freezer. Once the glasses are frozen spoon in a layer of cranberry granita, followed by layer of whisky granita, followed by another layer of cranberry. Place the glasses on saucers and garnish with a few fresh cranberries.
Irish Whiskey Cream Liqueur
Why spend a fortune on a mass produced branded Whisky Cream when you can make something far tastier for a fraction of the cost? We can assure you that once you have tried this you'll never buy it ready made again.
- 397ml can of condensed milk
- 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
- 175ml of strong coffee (preferably espresso)
- 175ml of good quality Irish Whiskey - we used a respected supermarket own brand - Scotch works just as well
Get an old whisky bottle (or buy some nice looking preserving bottles if you want to make larger quantities to give as gifts). Pour some boiling water into the bottle to sterilise it. Drain the bottle after a couple of minutes, put the cork in and allow to cool.
Put the coffee, whiskey, condensed milk and vanilla extract into a blender. Blend on a high setting for 2 minutes. Fill your bottle and chill in the fridge.
It really is that easy. It'll keep in the fridge for two weeks - unless you drink it before the two weeks is up!