Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Living the dream...

So it’s nearly Autumn. We’ve not had too much of a summer this year – we didn’t even go abroad at Fairypants HQ, so we’re definitely looking pastier than normal. Which is why we’re ready and willing to embrace our favourite season with open arms.

There’s nothing like Autumn for snuggling up with a loved one, watching films, and eating naughty food cause nobody cares about your bikini body any more. I mean, there’s more stuff to do than that, but if you spent all season just watching films and eating, it wouldn’t be too bad.

Something you can really get your teeth into in Autumn though, is making the most of seasonal fruit. Berries are ALL over the show right now. Blackberries, everywhere you look. You can make some super cool jam – use our recipe here. ORRRRRR you could go crazy and make some additions to your drinks cabinet. You heard me. If you’re not a drinker, you may want to skip this post. If you are a drinker, read on and thank me later.

So – to make your own alcohol, you will need bottles of whatever alcohol you want to make (Gin, Vodka, Rum. Whatever.) In my experience, the cheaper the better. I’m a big fan of supermarket own brand alcohol when you’re getting creative with it.

Then you’ll need lots of fruit and sugar, and of course- bottles. You can get all artisan, and collect those glass swing top bottles, or you can always get cheaper versions from any shop selling beer or wine making equipment, such as Wilkinsons. It’s always worth buying cheaper ones to make them in, then some nicer ones to decant the finished product into. Especially if you're giving them as gifts.

Shops like Wilko's are your friend for hobbies like this!

The best homemade spirits take a few months to make, so if you start now, they’ll be ready for Christmas, for all those parties you’re planning on having. Follow these instructions, and you can’t go far wrong.

These steps will make about a litre of alcohol.

1 lb fruit
8oz sugar
1 litre alcohol

If you’re using fruit with a skin, like sloes, damsons or plums, make sure to prick the skin all over with a knife. If you’re using softer fruit like blackberries, they’ll be fine whole. Pop the fruit into the bottle, and cover with the sugar and alcohol. I normally use caster sugar, but normal granulated is fine.

Seal the bottle, and shake it well. Store it in a cool, dark cupboard, and shake it every other day for a week. After that, you’ll need to shake it once a week for at least 2 months. The longer you leave it the better, this will only improve with age.
Once you’re ready, strain out the alcohol fruit. If you like, save it, and use it in cocktails. Please don’t waste it, it’s too good. Bottle what’s left, and drink it. That’s all there is to it – it’s not hard, it just takes time.

Have a think about some good combinations, I like blackberries and vodka, sloes and gin, blackcurrants and ANYTHING! Feel free to use frozen fruit, it’ll cut down on price – just let them defrost first. Be careful when sharing this though – there’s no real way of knowing how strong the alcohol is now, so don’t go getting your mates smashed, it’s not what friendship is about. Or is it?

In all seriousness, please be careful when consuming home made alcohol, it's really hard to know how strong it is, especially if you did a good job and it tastes yummy. Please drink responsibly, Fairypants is not liable for your hangovers! You're old enough to make your own mistakes... 

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