February 10, 2015

Holiday-Spiced Schnapps

I only buy vodka named after countries from "Risk"
Have you ever wanted to get punched in the face by alcohol and Christmas at the same time? What am I saying? Of course you have. But they don't run that mall-santa-fight-club all year round, so what are you supposed to do during all of the months that don't end in "cember?" Especially when the craving is fresh, during months that end in "ary?" The answer, of course, is to make some somewhat homemade Holiday-Spiced Schnapps! Why "somewhat homemade?" Because we're not making our own grain liquor out of a homemade still...yet (#SlipperySlopeToStartingAMethLab).


2 Cups Sugar
1.5 Cups Water
4 Sticks Cinnamon
18 Whole Cloves
1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
An unspecified amount of Vodka (Somewhere close to 1 bottle)
1 average-human-sized pinch Salt
1 empty Bottle (It didn't have to be empty when you started making the recipe, but it definitely needs to be empty by the end. So...get on that)

For those familiar with my Peppermint Schnapps recipe, this should be pretty familiar. The basic ingredients for our boozy goodness are Simple Syrup (made by melting sugar into water), and vodka. It's not exactly rocket science. Let me immediately take that back. I've met a couple rocket scientists, and mixing vodka with Simple Syrup is a big part of how I imagine they spend their days. But it's still not complicated. The key difference here is that our Simple Syrup is gonna be infused with all kinds of spiced goodness.

The first step is to make your infused syrup. I make it slightly differently than the regular kind, but it's still not too bad. Take your Sugar, Water, Cinnamon, Cloves, and Ginger, and add them all to a saucepan. Crank that heat all the way up to a manly-medium (which is also the name of my idea for a TV show about a former male model who talks to ghosts to solve crimes on the Louisiana bayou), and stir your mixture regularly while bringing it to a boil. Once you've got that boil going, throw in your pinch 'o Salt, slap a lid on that sucker, turn the heat off, and let it cool thoroughly. I know, you're a raging alcoholic, and you want your booze NOW. But your patience will be rewarded. The Cinnamon and Clove flavor will get much more intense. And also, you won't evaporate all of the alcohol out of your vodka by mixing it with a hot liquid. Because, physics. And also chemistry.

Kickass bottle not included. Go find your own.
Once your syrup mixture is cool, strain it. I know it seems like a pain. Do it anyway. Otherwise you're going to get cloves in your face every time you try and take a drink. Once it's good and strained, start adding in the vodka according to your level of preference and/or wussiness. Once you've got your balance where you want it, bottle up your mixture of awesomeness. You can bottle it using the tried and true "trying to pour carefully, and doing pretty well until you make that one mistake, and everything devolves from there and you end up covered in alcohol and shame" method. Or you can invest in a $3 plastic funnel and make your life simpler. It's up to you. In any event, once your booze is bottled, cool it for no less than 10 hours (careful though. If you're an alcohol wuss you may not have enough actual booze in there to keep if from freezing. In which case, the fridge is your friend). Then open it up and consume it until you've got that holiday cheer again.

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