As some of you are aware, around this time every year I start making a little drink to enjoy over Christmas - ginger whisky. Now every year I do get asked how to make this marvellous drink, and so this week I thought I'd share the recipe for this traditional winter warmer with you all. It is very simple to make, and the trickiest bit is having a little patience! So then, I shall don my chef's hat and let's get going!
First of all let's gather everything we will need together -
1 litre of whisky (any cheap whisky will do)
2 jars of stem ginger in syrup (about 600g to 700g in total)
Fresh ginger (approx 1 to 2 inches of root)
A cinnamon stick or powdered cinnamon
2 teaspoons of brown sugar
A 1.5 litre Kilner jar or similar sealable air tight container
A sharp knife (careful now!)
Sheet of muslin and/or coffee filter paper
1) Firstly - and this is very important, scald your jar with boiling hot water and make sure it is thoroughly clean. And if you are using an old jar, do remember to check the seal is still in good working order, for we need the container to be airtight.
2) Next, using a little sieve, strain off the syrup from the stem ginger into your jar. Handy hint - once you have taken the ginger out ready for step 3), screw the lids back on the jar and leave them upside down for a while. This will allow the syrup coating the insides of the jars to collect in the lids. You can often get another couple of tablespoons-worth of syrup by doing this!
3) Chop up the stem ginger into small pieces of roughly 1 cm square, and add to the jar. Now you can skip this bit, but I have found over the years, chopping the ginger into small pieces makes for more flavour in the finished drink. Do take care when doing this, as the syrup coating the ginger does make it slippery!
4) Peel your fresh ginger, and again slice into small chunks of about 1 cm square. Then add them to the jar too.
5) Sprinkle in two teaspoons of brown sugar
6) Then pour in your whisky. And I will stress again here, that the most bargain basement whisky will work fine for this recipe. For heaven's sakes, don't use a proper malt for this!
7) Break up a small cinnamon stick into the jar. Or alternatively add a dash of powdered cinnamon - be warned, however it does make the later straining of the drink trickier!
8) Seal the jar, and give the mixture a good shake to mix everything together.
9) Finally - and this is the tricky bit - leave it for at least six weeks! Occasionally give it a shake, but otherwise leave it alone! Generally I make my ginger whisky around the Autumn Equinox and only open it around the Winter Solstice, just in time for Christmas!
10) When you do open it, place a piece of muslin or a paper coffee filter (or both) into a sieve and drain the ginger whisky into bottles. If after straining and filtering it remains slightly cloudy, this is perfectly normal.
11) Finally drink and enjoy! Ginger whisky may be drunk neat. Or it's very nice on the rocks too. Alternatively it may be added to coffee or hot chocolate to add an extra warming glow to your drink!