The holiday season brings out the best and worst in humankind. We celebrate by sharing “cheer” with our friends as they come in the door from the cold with a warming drink. Sometimes, we appreciate those punchbowls as a way to survive the holidays. Whichever type of cheerful person you are, we have a cup for you.
We were reminded of our obligation to turn away from our inner Grinches by receiving three recipes from Innis & Gunn, which we promptly tried, and thought up two more to help you through the winter and holiday season.
First up is a take on traditional spiked eggnog. Everyone who drinks the supermarket stuff should try making homemade once. Regular caution with raw eggs is to be observed. We split this batch into two and switched up the booze that is added.
I&G Egg Nog
700mL whole milk
500mL double cream
1 vanilla pod
3 bottles original Innis & Gunn
Whisk eggs with half of the sugar until sugar dissolved. Slowly add cream and milk and remaining sugar. Add beer, spirit and vanilla. Serve chilled.
Half the batch was made with the I&G beer using Woodford Reserve as the bourbon. The nog had a slight fizziness and fermented flavour with a noticeable vanilla taste. It was closer to traditional eggnog than the second half of the batch using Skinny Dipping Stout from Sawdust City & Forty Creek Spike Honey Spiced Whisky. There was a caramel and coffee notes similar to a beery Bailey’s. This is a versatile recipe that allows for switching brown spirits and beer. Recommend this as a good make ahead drink.
Butter beer has been ruined by Harry Potter. This next recipe is like a butter beer without the butter or a mulled cider replacing the apple with beer. If you are going to switch the Innis & Gunn, we would recommend you take a little of the beer and warm it up to taste it. Some beer becomes incredibly bitter as the compounds in the hops react with heat. Not a pleasant drink.
2 bottles of Original I&G
50ml Bourbon (or other dark spirit)
2 star anise
6 black pepper corns
1 cinnamon stick
5ml lemon juice
2 clementines sliced
Warm the beer and bourbon gently with all of the aromatics – do not allow to boil. Add the lemon juice and squeeze in the clementine slices. Remove from the heat and allow to infuse for 15 minutes. Strain & serve.
We mulled this ahead of time and then refrigerated only to warm it up again at a later date and there was no difference. Make this one ahead and store in your fridge for a few days before a party. The bourbon really accents the vanilla in the beer and the licorice boosts all the rest of the spices.
To make it into a butter beer, ditch the citrus and add a few healthy smatterings of butter. If you have heard of that Bullet Proof Coffee and that sounds cool to you, you can add some butter to this. Chai spices would work as well.
WTF Holiday Drink
When we read this recipe we thought two things: what the hell is a gomme and what are we going to do with the leftovers from the recipe? Don’t sweat it. A gomme is a sweet and syrupy liquid that normally uses a thickener called gum to give smoothness to an alcoholic drink. Make less than the recipe calls because 35mL is a very small amount of the 1.5L that it makes. This was the only recipe that really needs the I&G because it is really designed to bring out the oak notes and vanilla by pairing it with roiboos and apricot.
Rooibos Gunn Punch
2 bottles of Original I&G
150ml Rooibos Tea
35ml Apricot gomme* (Apricot gomme – one batch can be made with 1L water, 500g sugar and 300g chopped, dried apricots. Infuse for 36-48 hours)
20ml lemon juice
1 vanilla pod
Gently warm all of the ingredients, minus the vanilla – do not allow to boil. Add vanilla and allow to infuse for 15-20 minutes.
We all get bad gifts sometimes and sometimes that gift is beer. The best way to get rid of beer that is too hoppy and unbalanced is to mix it with juice and call it a radler. They are the wine spritzer of the beer world. In summer, the standard juice to use is grapefruit but that doesn’t quite say festive unless you are talking to someone brought up in the fifties who got oranges and grapefruits in their stockings. Here are two other takes on it that are good enough for hiding a bad beer or really good for accenting a well-made beer. This was the best received by the tasters.
Also, buy a club pack and make up the whole thing. For those who aren’t drinking, warm some up and serve like a mulled cider.
Mulled Cranberry Radler
Per 1 L juice cranberry cocktail
2 cinnamon sticks
1 mandarin or clementine, quartered
2 tbsp of sugar (or honey, maple syrup or anything sweet)
Put first five ingredients everything in a pot and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Strain and let cool. Refrigerate until needed. Mix half and half to any pale, hoppy ale. IPAs work really well.
Tried this with a pint of Sawdust City’s Lone Pine IPA and was blown away by how much the fir tree flavour came through and tasted like Christmas tree in a glass in a good way.
Use apple cider in the recipe above. Change the spices as you see fit. This is better mixed with maltier beer such as lagers, stouts, porters and the like. If the almost drain pourable beer doesn’t work with the cranberry, try it with the apple. If it still doesn’t work, well, leave it out for Santa or of age teenagers to drink.
All of these are easy to make ahead and store in the fridge. They will be around to help entertain, celebrate or numb as required.
Product was provided by Innis & Gunn. The company did not review or approve this article.