My aunt makes the best Christmas Pudding. No, no arguments, it’s true.
So when we were looking for our first Christmas infusion, it was a simple decision.
So, how to combine a Christmas pudding with a bottle of bourbon? There are several options, ranging from the 69 Colebrooke Row panettone bellini model (take a blender to a pudding and dissolve it as much as possible), otherwise a ‘cold’ infusion as below, or a ‘hot infusion (using a sous vide) will also work nicely. For the Colebrooke Row approach you start at the end and deconstruct; for the latter two, you start with the ingredients and flavours of a Christmas pudding and build up. To make 350ml (half a bottle of bourbon):
- Add 125g dark brown sugar, 50g mixed peel, 125g sultanas and 75g raisins to a mixing bowl.
- Grate the zest of half an orange into the bowl and add the juice.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon of almond essence, 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon of mixed spice.
- Finally add a cinnamon stick, the scraped contents of a whole vanilla bean and 350ml bourbon.
- Stir well and cover the bowl. Leave in a cool place for about a week, stirring once a day.
At this stage, the brown sludge looks distinctly unappetising, but smells incredible: orange, vanilla and bourbon – perfect winter flavours.
After a week, strain the mixture through a fine sieve – mash it right down to get all the juices out (and retain the fruit as an accompaniment to vanilla ice cream) then filter through a coffee filter paper. Store the infused bourbon in a clean bottle and it will keep for six months or so (but you’ll finish it before then!)
This is a great, rich, spiced fruit bourbon when sipped on its own, but can also be used to make our first Christmas Manhattan.