The Purple Potter's Umra Archives
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Ben's Homemade Bailey's
Bernard's Elderflower Cordial
Chris D's Non-alcoholic Punch
Frances's Vodkas
Jenny's Ginger Beer Plant
Lizbuff's Elderflower Wine
Min's Hot Chocolate
Min's Tequila Stammer
Neil's Baileys' Banana Colada
Penny's Elderflower Wine
Penny's Raspberry Gin
Robin-the-fish's Nettle Beer
Stephen B's Advocaat
Stephen B's Non-alcoholic Angel Punch
Stephen B's Dragoon Punch
Stephen B's Spiced Hot Cocoa From "Chocolat"
Tony W's Long Island Iced Tea

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Ben's Homemade Bailey's

Half bottle of preferred whisky
Medium pot double cream
Tin condensed milk
Camp coffee essence to taste.

Combine carefully (add whisky last) and bottle. Lovely and silky, but nothing like as sweet as Baileys.

Bernard's Elderflower Cordial

2lb of sugar
1 and a quarter ounce of citric acid
I lemon
10 elderflower heads (washed and drained)

Put the sugar in a large bowl, add 1 pint of boiling water. Stir till dissolved then add the citric acid.
Grate the lemon and add the peel rind to the bowl.Slice the lemon and add the slices and elderflower heads to the bowl.
Cover and allow to stand for 12 hours.
Strain, bottle and store for a month before serving.

Chris D's Non-alcoholic Punch

2 Pints Water
8 oz Sugar
Rind of 4 Lemons
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Mixed Spice
24 Cloves

Boil the above ingredients together, add the juice of the lemons, strain and freeze. (I use old yogurt pots

To serve, add:

1 Ltr Orange Juice*
Ltr Pineapple Juice*
3 large Canada Dry
Lemon and Orange Slices

Sainsbury's "Orange & Pineapple" juice works well

Frances' Vodkas (and extensive menu suggestions)

We use Kilner-type jars, which makes it easier to drain the vodka off the flavourings if it is getting too strong. Jars with metal lids don't work, as the metal gets eaten away.

For the Thai one, we used a large jar, and added a knob of ginger about as big as the ball of your thumb, sliced up, two stems of lemon grass, crushed, the shredded peel of one lime, two roughly chopped chillies, seeds and all. We did say that next time we would add some basil and maybe a little honey, and if you're not partial to chilli you could reduce it to one and/or leave the seeds out. That took about two-thirds of a bottle of vodka. Cheap is fine, in fact it would be a waste of the good stuff. Something from your local backstreet offy or off the back of a Ford transit is good, provided the alcohol count is high.

Stick booze in with flavourings, seal and put in the dark and cool for about a week, shaking every day. If it seems to have picked up enough flavour, you can decant it and label it, or leave it for longer if you like. If you're in a hurry, you can mix it all straight in the bottle and keep in the freezer, which speeds it all up by breaking down the cellular structure of the organic material in the flavourings, and takes about 24 hours rather than the full week.

If you've used sweet or fruit flavours (berries, melon, etc.) you can keep the fruits after they've marinaded and use them for filling gateaux, roulades, or as ice-cream toppings.

The Russian way to drink it is with zakuski, which is their idea of starters. Every other New Year we have a Russian evening, with a great variety of vodkas, and lots of little foods - last year's draft menu was:

Zakuski (Starters)

* Whole cold salmon with orange hollandaise
* Whole Ham baked with seed and mustard crust
* Hot chicken/turkey Satsivi (mild walnut korma)
* Hot meatballs in plum and cinnamon sauce
* Hot meatballs in sour cream and paprika sauce
* Hot meatballs in dill pesto
* Mushroom pirogi (little pies)
* Cabbage pirogi with caraway seed crust
* Onion and egg pirogi
* Cheese pirogi

Salads including beetroot in sour cream, beetroot with walnut, cucumbers, mushrooms, celery, radishes, egg, potato, green salad.

Pates including Mushroom and Bulgar (cracked wheat), *Chicken Liver, Celebration Cheese Pate.

Cold Meats.

Smoked Fish including *Smoked Mussels, *Smoked Oysters, Smoked Salmon.

Variety of marinated herrings.

Breads and biscuits including pumpernickel, rye bread, cheese straws, plain bread.

Pickles & Sauces including *Mushrooms, *Pickled Pears, *Sweet Spiced Prunes, Dill Pickles, Mustard and Dill Sauce, Cranberry Sauce.


There is no main course.


*Individual Rum Babas
*Double Chocolate Rasberry Truffle Cake
*Mazurek (Polish Christmas Glace Fruit Bars)
*Cold Rice Pudding with Hot Cherry Sauce
*Stem Ginger Trifle
Non-alcholic trifle for kids
Fresh fruit.

Flavoured vodkas we have on the go are:

Lemon and lime
Sour cherry
and there will be some sweet gloopy vodka-based liqueurs as well.

(end of menu)

The vodka is stored in bottles in the freezer, so it is served ice-cold and accumulates a coating of solid ice as the condensation on the outside of the bottle refreezes.

The eldest person at the table starts by making a toast, and then the toasts go around the table. For each toast you pick a mouthful-sized bit of food, and an appropriately flavoured vodka. (This is where the dill and garlic vodka comes in, it is fantastic with smoked salmon.) To make sure the flavours meld properly, you:

1) breathe in
2) knock back the vodka in one
3) pop the food in your mouth
4) breathe out slowly through your nose
5) chew and swallow
6) start again

The flavoured fumes pass over the taste sensors in your nose and mix with the food. Pick the wrong choice and you're in big trouble ... toffee and chocolate vodka does not go with cabbage in sour cream sauce, trust me on this one!

Some of the sweet ones are excellent: we mixed a melon vodka with green ginger wine, or made more "artificial" ones using industrial food flavourings supplied by a friendly chemist. There's a Delia recipe for glace / crystallised fruit soaked in Madeira, which works on the same principle, but where the fruit is the main end result, not the liquid.

If you want to add to the finished product, you can add honey or a sugar syrup for sweetness, glycerine for a more solid, gloopy, liqueur-type texture. If it is fake liqueurs you're after, try the flavour concentrate they sell next to the coffee in good supermarkets, or in independent coffee shops - in America you used to be able to get concentrates that told you in Very Broad Hints what they were mimicking, with instructions about which base booze to add them to.

Experimentation is the key to fun!

Jenny's Ginger Beer Plant

Starting Beer:
1/2 oz yeast
1/2 pint warm water
2 teaspoons ginger
2 teaspoons sugar

6 teaspoons ginger
6 teaspoons sugar

1.5 lbs sugar
2 pints water
Juice of 2 lemons

5 pints water. Mix together ingredients for starting beer. Stir well. Leave for 24 hours. then feed daily with 1 tsp ground ginger and 1 tsp sugar each day. After 7 days strain plant through cloth. To flavour, dissolve the sugar with the water, add the lemon juice and the liquid from the plant. To dilute, add all this to 5 pints of water. Mix well. Bottle in screw top bottles. Keep for at least 7 days to mature.

Divide the plant into 2 equal portions. Add 1/2 pint water to each. Give one plant to a friend and retain the other.

Lizbuff's Elderflower Wine

Make sure the tree is not in a heavy traffic area.

Pick a few heads of eldeflower and make sure they don't smell of cat pee.

Strip the flowers from the stalk and soak them in water for 24 hours.

After that add pectolitic enzyme and allow to soak for another 24 hours.

Strain the the liquor into a bucket add a a bag of sugar, 250g of concentrated grape extract and a good wine yeast. Stir and leave for 48 hours until the yeast has formed a head.

Place in a demi-john under air lock and watch the rate of bubbles. When it gets to less than one a minute you can stop it or feed it with 2oz of sugar every other day until it gives up.

You then feed it with a campden tablet and a quarter teaspoon of potassium sorbate. Put in a cool place. If you then want to fine it add isinglass.

Wait until it is clear and bottle.

Min's Hot Chocolate

a recipe to help all those umrats (chocaholics to a rat) who want to know what to with that bar of >70% cocoa solids chocolate that they don't *acksherly* enjoy eating?

Take 85% cocoa solid dark chocolate, melt it, add cinnamon, ground nutmeg and chilli powder (a very little) to taste, along with chopped nuts (if you like them). Pour into an ice cube tray and leave to harden. Place 1-2 chunks into a teapot of hot water and allow to melt. Pour out and drink - slowly and with relish.

(From an 18th century Terry's recipe)

Min's Tequila Stammer

Having been given a bottle of Tequila for my Birthday, Alex and I invented a new drink - "Tequila Stammer". Squeeze some fresh lime into a glass - add tequila, add ice, fill up with Lemon Fanta. Swizzle vigorously & drink.

Neil's Bailey's Banana Colada


1 oz. Bailey's Irish Cream
1 oz. Rum (Preferably Dark Rum)
1 oz. Banana Liqueur
1 Banana
3 oz. Pina Colada Mix

Put banana and liqueur into blender until it is a thick paste. Add Bailey's Irish cream, pina colada mix and rum. Blend well then add 1 cup of ice and blend again until smooth.

Penny's Elderflower Wine

From my oldest book
Pick or shake off the flowers and put them in a basin with 2 sliced lemons (and a small piece of root ginger if desired) and 2.5 lbs sugar. Pour on a gallon of boiling water, stir well and when lukewarm add 1oz of yeast. Stir daily for 4 days then strain and leave to ferment in a well filled jar or cask.

The next book more or less agrees but says the pint of florets should be a 'pressed down' measure and suggests 3lbs sugar (first book was published when sugar was rationed). It suggests the use of a grapefruit in place of the lemons and adds the citrus juice after the mixture has cooled. It also points out that the flowers should be picked on a fine day when in full bloom.

My most recent book seems to have my own notes in it and I have decided upon 2.5 lbs sugar and 1pt flowers although the recipe calls for 1 gal of flowers. This version allows the mixture to ferment for 7 days with half the sugar before straining, adding the rest of the sugar and putting into a gallon jar with a fermentation lock. This makes sense since the initial fermentation will be vigourous and the wine may bubble out of the jar. IIRC my elderflower was always rather good :)

Other recipes use oranges instead of lemons and add raisins to the brew but I suspect they are after a sweeter result. I prefer it dry.

Elderflower is also a wonderful flavouring for sorbet.

Penny's Raspberry Gin

1lb raspberries
1.5 pints water
1lb white sugar
1qt gin

Put gin and fruit in a kilner jar, screw down tightly and keep near the fire for a few days but don't let it get too warm. Boil water and sugar together to make a syrup, skimming off any scum. Strain gin and fruit through muslin and add cooled syrup to liquid. Filter the mixture or allow to drip through a jelly bag [seems odd if you've already strained it but may help a clear result], bottle and cork tightly.

As to using fruit from the freezer, I don't see why not, in fact the juice will run freely from frozen raspberries. I'd be inclined to try, say 12 oz of fruit and 3 oz of sugar to a bottle of gin and do it in the same way as sloes.

Robin-the-fish's Nettle Beer (from Roger Phillips)

100 nettle stalks, with leaves
2.5 gallons of water
3lb sugar
2oz Cream of Tartar
1/2 ounce live yeast

Boil nettles with of water for 15 minutes. Strain, and add the sugar and the cream of tartar. Heat and stir until dissolved. Wait until tepid, then add the yeast and stir well. Cover with muslin and leave for 24 hours. Remove the scum and decant without disturbing the sediment. Bottle, cork and tie down. I have made this many times and in practice it seems best to leave it to ferment in the bucket for 4 days, thus avoiding too much fizzing over when you open the bottles. Your first sip will dispel any doubts as to the excellence of this beer which makes a light, refreshing drink, ideal for serving on warm, early summer evenings. A sprig of mint and a cube of ice is worth adding when serving.

Stephen B's Advocaat

Advocaat are not exactly the same. How about:

10 Egg yolks
1/2 Level teaspoon salt
275 g Sugar
400 ml Cognac
1 1/2 level teaspoons vanilla essence

Beat the yolks with the salt and the sugar, until the mixture is thick and creamy. Beat in the cognac, very slowly and put the mixture into a double saucepan. Heat gently, whisking all the time until the advocaat is warm (not hot) and thick. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla essence. Pour into a jug.

Stephen B's Non-alcoholic Angel Punch

1 cup sugar syrup
1 pint lemon juice
1 quart strong green tea
2 quarts white grape juice
1 block ice
2 quarts chilled club soda

Combine all ingredients except soda, and refrigerate for an hour or two. Pour over ice in a punch bowl and add the soda. Serve in 4-ounce punch glasses.

Makes about 45 servings.

Stephen B's Dragoon Punch

3 pints porter
3 pints ale
1/2 pint brandy
1/2 pint sherry
1/2 cup sugar syrup
3 large lemons, thinly sliced
Block of ice
2 bottles chilled champagne

Pour porter, ale, brandy, sherry and sugar syrup into a punch bowl. Add lemon slices and a block of ice. Add the champagne.

Serve in 4-ounce punch glasses.

Makes about 40 servings.

Stephen B's Spiced Hot Cocoa From "Chocolat"

This velvety, dark hot chocolate was inspired by the movie "Chocolat." It's laced with vanilla, cinnamon and the secret ingredient behind this luscious cocoa -- chili powder. Traditionally, such a concoction would be made with crushed cocoa beans, cinnamon sticks and dried chili peppers; my streamlined version is lacking only in preparation time, not in flavor.

2 cups milk
1 ounce semisweet chocolate, melted
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons warm water
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon finely ground instant coffee
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 pinches ground chili powder, or to taste
Marshmallows or whipped cream (optional garnish)

In a saucepan over medium-low heat, heat the milk until warm. Do not simmer.

Meanwhile, in the top of a double boiler set over, not touching, simmering water, heat the chocolate until melted. Add the cocoa powder, water, sugar, cinnamon, coffee, vanilla and cornstarch and stir until thoroughly combined. Remove the pan from the heat.

Whisking constantly, slowly add the chocolate mixture to the warm milk and heat over medium heat until warm. Add chili powder and heat just until the mixture begins to simmer. Whisk until the chocolate mixture is frothy, remove from the heat and carefully pour into mugs. If desired, top with marshmallows or whipped cream. Serve immediately.

Per serving (using low-fat milk): 326 calories, 11 gm protein, 51 gm carbohydrates, 10 gm fat, 18 mg cholesterol, 6 gm saturated fat, 129 mg sodium, 4 gm dietary fiber.

Tony W's Long Island Iced Tea

30ml/1fl.oz Vodka
30ml/1fl.oz Gin
30ml/1fl.oz White Rum
30ml/1fl.oz Tequila
30ml/1fl.oz Lemon Juice
1 teasp Caster Sugar
Ice Cubes

In a shaker half filled with ice cubes, combine the vodka, gin, rum, tequila, lemon juice and sugar. Shake well. Strain into a tumbler half filled with ice cubes. Serve with a straw.
Fall over.

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