I’ve got the bug – the preserving, gift making, home brewing, bottling bug. It began when I made the Purple Fig and Pomegranate Jam from Salt Sugar Smoke. I realised then, with a few simple instructions, how easy it was to preserve – the process was no longer shrouded in mystery. I was also lucky enough to get some expert tips from Vanessa Kimbell whilst making greengage jam, which I’ll be posting about soon. Next came the Rumtopf, or the spiced rum soaked fruit and now, influenced by my Polish roots and partiality to vodka, I’ve been making these gorgeous little bottles of Pomegranate and Vanilla Vodka. Having followed Vanessa’s adventures and recent trip to Uganda, I now always look out for and use Fairtrade Ndalli vanilla. By complete coincidence (although you won’t believe me) when I placed the bottle, pomegranate and ribbon on the table, they arranged themselves exactly like this – two heart shapes. The kink in the ribbon was entirely natural, it must have been the way it was wrapped.
This vodka is so easy to make, I promise you. I’ve seen a few pomegranate vodka recipes, in particular this one in Woman and Home, but I haven’t seen the combination of pomegranate and vanilla and I thought it would work well. A little bit of ribbon and a homemade gift tag, and you’re well on your way to making your own Christmas gifts.
There is one really important thing to remember when preserving or making bottled gifts – you must sterilize your jars or bottles (and funnels, if using) but this is easy.
How to sterilize your equipment/bottles and jars
Boil them in plain water
Wash them in hot soapy water then put them in the oven (lids, too) at 170 degrees Celsius
Put them through a dishwasher cycle
NB The Kilner bottles I used had plastic or rubber stoppers, so I put mine through a dishwasher cycle rather than in the oven. Jam lids are usually fine in the oven. Fill your bottles or jars when they are still hot.
The alcohol preserves the fruit, but I also always use spirits which are 40% ABV.
Pomegranate and Vanilla Vodka
This makes enough for 3 x 250ml bottles or a large 1 litre preserving bottle
- 120g or 2/3 cup fresh pomegranate seeds (roughly the amount from one large pomegranate or a packet)
- 3 Fairtrade vanilla pods (I used Ndalli pods)
- 75cl bottle vodka (40%ABV)
- 220g or one cup sugar
- 240ml or one cup water
- Sterilize your bottles and funnel, if using (see above for How to Sterilize tips)
- Put the pomegranate seeds and vanilla pods into sterilized bottles or one large litre Kilner jar. Carefully pour in the vodka.
- Put the sugar and water in a pan, boil for a few minutes until the sugar dissolves. Leave to cool slightly.
- Pour the cooled sugar syrup into the vodka and shake well. Store in a cool, dark place and shake every few days.
- Before drinking or giving as a gift, strain the vodka into a newly sterilized bottle or container, removing the pomegranate seeds.
- Pour the strained vodka into three smaller sterilized bottles, adding a pod to each one and a few fresh pomegranate seeds.
After just a couple of days, the vodka has turned a beautiful translucent peachy colour. When you shake it, you see pretty specks of vanilla.
Exciting – my first photo taken with a macro lens!
Have you been getting a head start on making any Christmas gifts yet?
Other Christmas gift posts you may like –
- Polish Spiced Christmas Cookies
- Rumtopf or Rum Pot – Rum Spiced Fruit & Liqeuer
- Christmas Cocktails and Canapes
- Chocolate Snowflakes and Fairy Cakes
- Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cupcakes
- Christmas Tiramisu Trifle