Powered by Blogger.

Loner: Christmas craftiness: Mulled Wine Salt Scrub and Cherry & Cinnamon Whisky (last minute present ideas you can make with stuff you can buy in a supermarket)

Mulled wine salt scrub. Mmmmm.

I have never really been that much of a craft person, but after starting Loner. Lover. Friend, I've been quite inspired to get down with my crafty self by all the wonderful crafters out there in bloggersphere. 

My main problem with crafts however, is that my crafty self has not the patience for crafts. My Dad always tells the story of how when he was younger, he and his cousin Antony were both given toy planes for Christmas, which needed assembling. Antony spent days filing down each of the pieces to make sure they were perfect to paint, then giving it a three licks of paint to make the colour pop and then finally assembling it. My Dad had assembled his plane and splashed it with some bits of paint before they'd even sat down for their turkey. I am my Dad. What is worse is not only do I not really have the patience for crafts I don't have much talent for them either.

However, for these two little pieces you need neither, as they are super easy and both take about half an hour max of hands on work. What is even better, is that you can buy all the things you need to make them from a supermarket, meaning that if there is a gift you've forgotten this Christmas, you can make these babies and actually get extra credit for the effort you put in for the homemade gift.

Mulled Wine Salt Scrub

So the name Mulled Wine salt scrub is probably a bit misleading as this one doesn't have any wine in it, but "the-spices-you-need-to-make-mulled-wine salt scrub" didn't have the same ring to it. This looks quite nice, but what is even better about it is the smell and the way it makes your skin feel afterwards. (I had to test it as it would be pretty awful to give my 81 year old Grandma something which gave her an allergic reaction). Not only is your skin all silky smooth, but you smell like Christmas.

What you'll need:

(You can amend the quantities and make this bigger or smaller depending how much salt scrub you want to make. I just used moroccan tea glasses to measure mine)

Approx 200g (4 parts) rock salt - not table salt, you need nice big pieces
Approx 50g (1 part) brown sugar
Approx 100 ml (2 parts) olive oil (or grapeseed, or almond, just definitely not vegetable or sunflower this shiz is going on your skin)
A glug of vanilla essence
A spoon of ground almonds, or a glug of almond essence
Mulled wine seasoning: I used mulled wine sachets - I bought a packet of 6 and just cut them open and added them, but you could if you prefer use a pestle and mortar and spices to grind whole cloves, cinnamon sticks and nutmeg. Again I added six sachets, but you can add less or more depending on how subtle you want the smell to be, and how much of the other ingredient you've used.
A jar to put it all in - I used this pretty one which was 80p from Ikea, but just a spruced up Jam Jar will do

How you can make it:
This is basically an all in at once thing, but I'd work with the olive oil, salt and sugar  first to get the consistency of a salt scrub. It should be solid enough that you can pick it up in your hands, but liquid enough that it is easy to rub on your skin.
If you use the proportions I've put above (4 parts salt, 1 part sugar, 2 parts oil) it will start of like this, but after you mix it together, it will form a nice consistency.

Then you just need to add a sprinkle of ground almond or almond oil (optional - but it means you get all those lovely moisturising nut oils) and a glug of vanilla essence. (Vanilla really compliments the mulled wine spices, and gives the salt scrub a sweeter scent).

After this just add your mulled wine spices. I just used the sachets of mulled wine, because I am lazy, and I am slightly scarred by a pestle and mortar after trying to grind lavender to add to a hand cream for my mum back in 2009, but if you want to get all your favourite spices together and grind them up you can do.

The sachets are great though, as the spices are already the right size and they have dried orange in as well, which is harder to get hold off yourself, without going to the effort of drying an orange. I cut six of them open and then added them.

Then you just need to stir it all together, mixing it really well so the spices and vanilla distribute evenly throughout.

After this you can present it as it is or label it up.

I added a cute little label with the ingredients on, to give it that little extra bit of homemade feel.

Writing "love" is cheesy but adorable. Nb. Sort of cheated and wrote the ingredients of the mulled wine sachet, rather than "mulled wine sachet"...

And ta-da: Merry Christmas Grandma! (or whoever else in your life might fancy this)

So how much will mulled wine salt scrub cost you? I guess it depends what you've got in your cupboard, but assuming you've got a little bit of sugar and a glug of olive oil around you'll only need to invest in some rock salt (as you'll use most of the packet), some mulled wine, ground almonds and some vanilla essence:

You'll have plenty of ground almonds and vanilla left though, to use in any future cooking. I'm going to be using it to make homemade amaretto, using Bell Alimento's lovely recipe.

Cherry and Cinnamon Whisky

My boyfriend loves Jim Beam's Black Cherry Whisky, and Fire Eater's Cinnamon Whisky so fusing cinnamon and cherry together in whisky myself for a nice homemade Christmas gift seemed like a plan. You can use any fruit or infusion you want, just keep in mind how bitty it is. I foolishly added ground almonds to this, and it took me yonks to sieve it out, so make sure whatever you use is big enough to be caught in a sieve.

For this I used blogger Oddly Lovely's double infusion method which she used with her infused vodkas. The more time you leave for the flavours to infuse, the stronger it is going to be (I had mine infusing for 6 days in total), but even if you can only do 48 hours (so two lots of 24 hour infusions) the double infusion method is the key.

What you'll need:

A 750ml bottle of whisky - there is no point buying a super expensive one of these, because you are going to amend the taste anyway with the infusions, however, don't get the Tesco Value bottle as you don't want something too harsh which is not going to complement the cherry and cinnamon flavours. I went with Teacher's as it was on offer.
2 punnets of black cherries
4 cinnamon sticks
vanilla essence
A funnel of some sorts (I just got one from a DIY store)
A sieve
An empty bottle for decanting your whisky into (I used one of these from Ikea which were £1.75, but they are 1 litre so end up being a little big)
Some jars you can make airtight (eg. old jam jars)

How to do it:

1. Wash and chop the cherries and place in air tight jars. You don't need to worry to much about removing the stones and the stalks at this stage, but make sure they are chopped up so all the lovely juices are coming out

2. Add a cinnamon stick and a drop of vanilla essence to each jar

3. Pour over the whisky, seal up and leave in the fridge for a minimum of 24 hours. (I left mine for 3 days).

A few days (or hours) later....

4. Sieve your the whisky into bowls, separating it from the cherries and cinnamon sticks.

The whisky will turn a lovely dark - cherry - colour

5. Then start all over again. Chop up more cherries, add them to the now empty bowls, and add the cinnamon and vanilla again.

6. Pour your infused whisky over the top, and pop in the fridge for round 2.

A few days (or hours later) ...

7. Sieve again, separating the cherries and cinnamon. You might have to sieve more than once if whatever you've infused has got a little bitty in the infusion process.

8. Decant into your bottle.

9.  You can then leave it as it is or label it up. I used manilla labels, and an extra fine uni posca pen in silver. I am no calligrapher, but I just browsed some fonts on pic monkey, typed out my message and then copied it the best I could. And bob's your uncle: a happy whisky drinker:

It seems a shame to throw away all these amazing boozy cherries so I removed the stones and stalk and stirred them and crushed digestive biscuits into chocolate, then set again and broke up for a lovely accompaniment to the infused whisky.

Remember to always drinks responsibly.

I love getting into the Christmas spirit by making homemade gifts, even if my family members aren't so sure about getting a present they can't return. I'm also looking forward to making this gingerbread biscotti on Smitten Kitchen. Yummity yum yum.

Still stuck for present ideas? What about taking someone on an experience gift like afternoon tea or even a walking tour of their local area?

No comments