Pagan Blog Project 2014 – B for Brewing

I’m still a little behind with the Pagan Blog Project , but I’m trying to catch up.  Today’s topic is BREWING.

Brewing is a favourite hobby of mine, and I feel that it relates to my path because I am taking the substance of the earth, and turning it into a euphoric drink, which I then in turn – drink with, cook with, return back to the earth in the form of offering, and which I gift to friends (who are also of the earth).

While I have yet to try beer-making, I have made mead, dandelion wine, port and cider (both of which are in the process of being made as we speak).

According to Wikipedia, archaeological evidence suggests that brewing has been around for over 9000 years (over 9000.  I thought it too.)  That’s 9000 years of taking a sugar (be it honey, fruit, dextrose, or sucrose), letting it sit in water in a jug, and leaving it be, up to the fates of the wild yeasts that float around in the atmosphere, and then coming back to it sometime later and finding a product which is drastically different, and positively intoxicating.

It’s only natural that one would want to repeat the process, and give thanks to the gods, who took their pot of honey, and turned it into nectar.

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(from last summer)

PBP2014d

Pagan Blog Project 2014 – B for Brewing

Summer Solstice Cordial

Taken from the lovely people at Mountain Rose Herbs: I haven’t tried it yet, but it looks delish!

(feed me port…)

 

Summer is here and it is time to celebrate. I love to create special drinks for special occasions! Learn how to make herbal cordials and you will always have the most interesting parties! People stop asking you to bring food to the potluck and request that you bring the drinks instead!

Summer Solstice is the perfect occasion to capture the season in a delicious herbal cordial. It is so fun to get together with a friend and make a cordial that will add that extra touch to your summer feasts. Get yourself some small cordial glasses and toast your health and happiness this summer with this delicious Summer Solstice Cordial.

 

Summer Solstice Cordial

2 tablespoons dried organic elderflower

2 tablespoons dried organic rose buds

2 tablespoons chopped dried peaches

1 tablespoon fresh or dried organic lemon peel

1 teaspoon organic fennel seed

2 cups port wine

Steep herbs and fruit in the port wine for one month then strain the herbs from the wine and enjoy. Make a summer party cooler by putting this cordial over ice and adding seltzer water and fresh squeezed lemon or lime.

 

How to Make Summer Solstice Cordial

1) Put dried herbs into a mortar and pestle and mash them as much as possible

2) Chop dried peaches into small pieces with a knife

3) Put herbs, fruit and wine into a sterilized jar.

4) Let sit in a cool, dry place for one month

 

Decanting the Cordial…

After one month you will participate in the ancient art of decanting (Fancy term for straining out the herbs from the alcohol).

To decant your cordial you will need a clean sterilized glass jar, funnel and cotton muslin.

1) Place a funnel into the jar and lay the cotton muslin on top of the funnel

2) Pour the wine and infusing herbs and fruit through the muslin and funnel being careful not to let the herbs spill over the side of the muslin into the funnel and jar

3) If the herbs spill out of the muslin into the jar, get a clean jar and start over

4) When all of the liquid has drained through the cotton muslin cloth and funnel into the jar, then squeeze the rest of the liquid out of the dried plant material through the muslin into the jar.

5) Discard the strained out herb material into the compost or just put it on the dirt in your garden. The liquid left behind is your herbal cordial.

Cordials are alcoholic herbal drinks that have a variety of uses. Cordials can be sipped before and after dinner as digestive tonics. Cordials are perfect for toasts at special occasions and to pair with foods and desserts. Herbal cordials are also great cooking companions. Add them to cakes and desserts just as you would vanilla extract. Use them in marinades and glazes and put a dash into drinks. We add Summer Solstice Cordial to homemade whipped cream and put it on fresh summer fruit. Cordials can be stirred into jams and other dessert sweeteners or sprinkled onto yams and vegetables before baking. Add some cordial to your next batch of chutney or pie filling or put a tablespoon or two into morning pancake batter and French toast egg batter. During the cooking process the alcohol precipitates off leaving behind a melody of flavor for you to enjoy.

Summer Solstice Cordial

Oat and Honey Vodka

This is the last liquor post for a while, promise!

To complete the wedding trifecta of liqueurs and liquors, is an Oat and Honey Vodka, I found at The Chow, which I’m really hoping tastes like breakfast.  not quite, but it does have a really smooth oat flavour to it.

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Oat and Honey Vodka

330mL vodka (use some reasonable stuff, not Smirnoff!)

75g local Bulkley-Valley honey

3/4 cup organic rolled oats

Infuse in a glass jar for between 5-10 days, stirring daily. Strain through a cheesecloth, and then again through a coffee filter (if it’s still cloudy, you can strain it again after this)

I found the vodka a little overpowering still, so I added 1TBSP honey to the finished product to help sweeten it up a bit.  Delicious otherwise!

Serve chilled on the rocks, or make a Quaker Shaker

  • Ice
  • 2 ounces Oat and Honey Vodka
  • 1 ounce half-and-half
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine vodka and half-and-half. Shake until well chilled, then strain over ice into an Old Fashioned glass.

(Or if you’re lactose intolerant like me, don’t do it! It’s a trap!)

a note: sorry about the weird volume of liquid – I was using up the last of a bottle of vodka, and that just happened to be how much I had. I adjusted the recipe accordingly, but for something that makes a little more sense, click the link I provided!

Enjoy 🙂

Oat and Honey Vodka

Cacao Nib Brandy, and a Chocolate Love Potion

Another liqueur from the closet was ready for straining today. I can’t remember if I mentioned in my last liqueur post or not, but I’m heading east for a wedding in a few weeks here, and instead of buying a gift, I’ve decided to make some liqueurs. I know the two brides are definitely wine drinkers, and while I don’t know them well, I thought “Who wouldn’t want handmade alcohol for their wedding?”

Cacao Nib Brandy, adapted from Here

1 cup brandy

1/4 cup cacao nibs

2 inch vanilla bean

Infuse in a glass jar, in a dark, cool cupboard for 4-5 weeks (I did four, exactly). Strain through a cheesecloth, and again through a coffee filter.

Can be drank neat, on ice, or as Alicia from Boozed and Infused suggests:

“[try] the cocoa nib brandy in a classic Sidecar. I also think it would be nice mixed with vanilla vodka and a few muddled strawberries. To turn it into a highball, you could add some club soda or ginger ale.

and a note: The cacao nibs do impart a mild bitterness to the brandy, so if once you make it, you find it too bitter, you can try adding a simple syrup (1:1 sugar:water) to mellow it out and turn it into a liqueur. Because of this, I wouldn’t recommend infusing the mixture for longer than 5 weeks. You’re welcome to try it, but I found four weeks to be perfect!

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Chocolate Love Potion

The chocolate love potion is actually just a slight variation on the original recipe. I doubled it from what you see above, in part to share with others, and in part because I actually ran out of brandy making the first batch. For this batch, I had more available.

2 cups brandy

1/2 cup cacao nibs

2 TBSP damiana

1 TBSP muira puama

4 inch vanilla bean

Same process as above – infuse for 4 weeks, and then strain twice.

Tasting Notes: bitter and medicinal tasting.  Not entirely unpleasant, but it does remind me of jägger, or cough syrup, or something.  Which makes sense, I suppose, since this is technically a tincture.  I might add simple syrup to it to mellow it out, I’m not sure.

And I haven’t had a chance to test it out yet, but I’ve created a drink for the love potion, actually a variant on the classic champagne cocktail, that I’m going to call

“The Bacchus”

  • 1 sugar cube
  • 2-3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Champagne
  • 1 oz brandy

Preparation:

  1. Place the sugar cube in the bottom of a Champagne flute.
  2. Use the dashes of Angostura bitters to saturate the sugar cube.
  3. Add the brandy.
  4. Fill with Champagne and watch the sugar cube dissolve in a fountain of bubbles.
  5. Drink.

*Note: I am not a medical doctor, nor a licensed herbalist. Always research herbs before consumption, and consult your doctor prior to ingestion if you are on any medication, or suffer from heart problems, or are on blood thinners (aphrodisiacs increase blood flow).

Enjoy!

Cacao Nib Brandy, and a Chocolate Love Potion