I've been very ready and prepared this Christmas. Gifts, get-togethers, decorations, tunes, I even sent out cards (first time since leaving school, which was, ahem, some years ago). But despite all my festive planning smugness, there was one thing I'd forgotten. Lucky I had my lovely friend Holly to remind me of its existence: Syrup for Fizz.
You'll recognise Holly (blogger aka Recipes From a Normal Mum) from this years BBC2 show, The Great British Bake Off. She got to the competition final and was an all round superstar - her gingerbread house was a particular thing of envy.
Since finishing the Bake Off Holly's been getting involved with several exciting projects, one of which is presenting a show this week on BBC Radio Leicester. And earlier this week she asked if I'd like to come on the show to share a special Christmas recipe of mine. If you fancy a listen to my five minutes on air just click here: http://bbc.in/sxNfud
I made this recipe for the first time a couple of years ago, ahead of a house party held by Holly and her husband, Stu, and I wanted to create a festive drink that was chilled. Don't get me wrong, I love gluvine, vin chaud and mulled wine, but I also do like a glass of fizz (or two...) and I wanted to combine the feeling of Christmas with the chilled bubbles I adore.
The syrups flavours are wonderfully festive in their combination; cranberries, ground ginger, cloves, star anise, cinnamon, sugar and black peppercorns, for me they epitomise the flavours of Christmas and really do enhance affordable fizz. I like to use the syrup in Cava and Prosecco, Champagne of course works beautifully too, but it somehow seems wrong to adulterate those expensive, fizzy bubbles with this delicious, shiny pink syrup.
For one jar of syrup:
300g fresh cranberries
350g golden caster sugar
1 fat vanilla pod
3 heaped tablespoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
7 star anise
2 cinnamon sticks
- Place all the ingredients into a pan and bring to the boil when covered, once boiling reduce to a medium heat so the pan is simmering and remove the lid, cook down for between 45 minutes and an hour
- When the mixture has reached a runny honey like thickness remove it from the heat, pass through a sieve and leave to cool
- Once cold decant into a jar for storage
- For use, place a teaspoon of the mix into the base of a Champagne flute or saucer, then top with fizz and glug. The syrup collects a little at the bottom of the glass so you may want to swizzle it a little to get the flavours running through it