My aunt makes the best Christmas Pudding. No, no arguments, it’s true. So this infusion seemed to be the natural choice for Christmas.
Of course there is more than one way to create that Christmas pudding flavour in your cocktails. One option – following the 69 Colebrooke Row panettone bellini model – would be to take a blender to a pudding and dissolve it as much as possible. However, as that required a whole pudding, so instead of starting at the end and deconstructing we opted to start with the ingredients and flavours of a Christmas pudding and build up to all of those perfect Christmas flavours: orange, vanilla and bourbon.
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. 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.