I’m going to be honest, my apartment smells like a night of bad life choices… Think what you will, and maybe you should… but, a solid night out for me typically includes a couple whiskey and gingers (commonly referred to as a bourbon highball). Last January during the doldrums of winter and thus the lack of fresh fruits for tasty jelly and jam making, I started experimenting with alcohol based canned goods. To my surprise, not only was everything I made pretty damn good, but also a huge hit on the blogosphere. The main risk of canning with alcohol is spending 20 plus dollars on the booze to have it fail or not set up correctly. Plus, following the typical jelly set tests is a crap shoot because the lack of “water” causes different boiling temperatures and consistencies. The inspiration for this whiskey ginger jelly came from my cinnamon whiskey jelly that I put up last winter. I suggest using a mid-range whiskey or bourbon here as you don’t want to spend the money and have it fail, but also you don’t want the flavor of cheap booze lingering in your sugary jelly goodness.
The flavor of this whiskey ginger jelly is perfect. Smooth, not overwhelmingly boozey, yet strong in ginger flavor which would work nicely as a pork glaze or simply on a biscuit. Yum, think about it, a hot homemade buttermilk biscuit topped with jelly and some local free-range bacon strips!! While cooking this jelly down does burn off most of the whiskey, only so much can be lost from 750ml. To that end, I may advice against using this jelly for little Johnny or Sally’s lunch time PB&J. 🙂
Waking up locked in a cranberry bog was something I never expected to scratch off my “done it” list, but thanks to hectic & rainy trip out to the Cape last month, I can say it’s been done. While it makes for a pretty awesome story (obviously), our intentions (honestly) were not to sleep in a bog. As with most of our sporadic trips, we started driving south with no resting place in mind. Navigator Erin to the rescue! Or so we thought… I thought I had found a cheap’ish, no minimum night stay campground to pitch a tent at, but alas by the time we arrived, the gates were already closed and our next best option was sneaking down a dark dirt road with the hopes of no one kicking us out during our slumber. The best part about arriving somewhere after the sun goes down is waking up the next morning and thinking “WOW, look where we landed… a freaking cranberry bog!!” Had it not been for our little oops moment, I wouldn’t have known that cranberries 1) were grown in bogs, and 2) grown on Cape Cod.
Last November I successfully made my first really GOOD cranberry sauce. Much like this recipe, it was booze infuzed (ruby red port) which led to a fun evening… “the recipe only calls for a cup and a half of booze… what to do with the rest of it…”. I’ve already talked about my opinions of girls drinking whiskey (badass) so I won’t get into it here, but I had half a bottle of bourbon let over after the honey bourbon mustard I made earlier this week. With 5lbs of local Maine cranberries from Sugar Hill Cranberry Co, I figured it was time to get going on this year’s cranberry creations.
Last weekend the beau and I randomly decided to head north into western Maine towards Rangeley Lake. Albeit mildly comfortable and somewhat romantic, we decided that car camping wasn’t an option (again) and opted for tent camping instead. Unprepared, hungry, and a tad bit bored we hit the local minimart for food, firewood, and… whiskey. One would think that after several flavored alcohol fueled hangovers that I would have learned to steer clear of such evil evil elixirs… “I’ll take a bottle of that Canadian Club Dock no. 57 blackberry whiskey, please!” To say the least, only about half the bottle was consumed and I won at our rendition of whiskey cribbage.
Back in town Monday morning I found myself thinking, “What the hell am I going to do with the rest of this fire syrup?” Later that morning, while getting my muffler looked at in Barrington, NH (apparently logging an average of 300 miles/weekend on a 40yr old car is problematic), I happened to pass a “peaches” sign which led me to Union Lake Peach Orchard. I drove 5 miles off the beaten path to realize that I had no cash in my wallet and that country orchard stands don’t typically take plastic (surprise). The quick trip back to the ATM was well worth it as the 6lbs of yellow peaches that I I brought home were some of the best I’ve tasted in years. Word is that the orchard is debuting their white peaches next week!! Not only were these pickled peaches the answer to my left over whiskey woes, but I’m looking forward to cracking open a jar during the duldrums of winter hoping the blast of summer flavor will revitalize my palate and remind me of why… oh why… I moved to the frigid Northeast. Enjoy!
Do you remember those individually wrapped fireball candies? They were always conveniently priced and placed at the local pool, theater, arcade, or some other fun concession stand when I was growing up. I can recall the countless memories and horrible enjoyment of slobbering and sucking the hot saliva away which always resulted in very red and very sticky lips, checks, and fingers.
Fast forward 20 years to me discovering Fireball Whiskey. While it’s hard to deny the sugary goodness of Fireball whiskey, there is definitely a time and a place for it. I had been playing around with the notion of making a Fireball jelly for some time, and decided that rather than overpowering the jelly with the crap sugar and unknown ingredients, I would instead make my own cinnamon whiskey jelly using good old bourbon and cinnamon sticks. I ended up pairing apple cider with the whiskey as I wasn’t trying to make straight up whiskey jello shots… though come to think of it, that may have made the process much more exciting. Nonetheless, with a fifth of added whiskey, I’m not sure if I would choose this jelly for your kids’ next PB&J.
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