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    Cocktail, Dessert, Recipes

    Recipe: Frozen French 75 cocktail

    burleighs_frozen_french_75

    From the West side to the East side…

    Back when I was at university, up north, there seemed to be this weird icebreaker where they’d split groups based on where they were in the country – north of Birmingham, south of Birmingham etc.  Me being me, and generally a pain in the neck, meant I’d stick my hand up and point out that I was neither, that I was actually from Birmingham.  My friend Beccy would then join in, for she was from the East (Midlands).  It got to the point where we started a joke east/west side rivalry…but now it seems like the Midlands are (re) united, thanks to gin.

    Launched in 2014, Burleigh’s gin hails from the picturesque Charnfood Forest in the heart of Leicestershire.  The inspiration for the gin came from nearby Burleigh Wood, which is adjacent to the 45 West Distillery, where Burleigh’s gin is made.  Whilst walking through the Woods, master distiller Jamie Baxter came across silver birch, dandelion, burdock, elderberry and iris, and used these as inspiration for Burleigh’s gin.

    Whereas most gin brands prefer to keep their bottles glass and see through, the unusual dark black, textured bottle of Burleigh’s makes it stand out on the shelf and so pretty easy to spot out and about. And because we Midlanders enjoy a good tipple, I’ve spotted Burleigh’s in a bunch of Birmingham bars, including Gas Street Social, Loki Wine, Cosy Club, The Botanist, Lost & Found, 40 St Pauls and others.

    burleighs_frozen_french_75_2

    For this slushie, I took inspiration from the classic French 75 cocktail, which involves gin, lemon juice, sugar syrup and Champagne.  As with nearly all the good classic cocktails, no one is really very sure of the history of it – there’s a suggestion that Charles Dickens liked to give callers Tom gin and champagne cups, and one of the first recorded versions of the French 75 is found in The Savoy Cocktail Book.  But, the suggestion is that the name comes from the French army’s 75mm field gun used during World War I, so when it was developed is anyone’s guess.

    Initially I planned to make these ice lollies, but then I realised two things: one, we live in the UK and there’s probably only a need for cooling ice lollies for two weeks a year; and two, I like to make sure things are decently boozy which doesn’t always make it easy to freeze, unless you’re willing to compromise on the alcohol content.  Also, tis nearly the season and a palette cleanser which involves something fizzy and gin is a pretty winning idea.

    Before anyone gets at me, this recipe is inspired by the French 75, but tweaked because it’s frozen and I wanted to get the flavours to come through the iciness. I used the Burleigh’s Export Strength gin (47% abv) because it’s distilled using the same botanicals at their signature gin but bottling at a higher ABV gives it a different flavour, including lasting flavours of lemon and juniper, but the intensity means it works served at a cooler temperature.

    Recipe: Frozen French 75 cocktail
     
    Prep time
    Total time
     
    Author:
    Recipe type: cocktail, ice lolly
    Cuisine: dessert
    Serves: 2
    Ingredients
    • 50ml Burleighs export strength gin
    • 25ml fresh lemon juice
    • 62.5ml sugar syrup (2 parts water, 1 part sugar)
    • 125ml prosecco, or champagne if you're fancy
    Instructions
    1. Add all of the ingredients, give them a good stir
    2. Pour into ice moulds or a dish and freeze overnight
    3. Remove from container, bash up the ice a little
    4. Transfer to champagne glass or bowl and serve

    The people at Burleigh’s have given me a code so that readers of Full to the Brum can get 20% off purchases at their online store.  Head to burleighsgin.com/shop/ and add the code FTTB20 to get the discount.

    Cake, Recipes

    Recipe: French Martini cupcakes

    french martini cake
    When I started playing around with the idea of doing recipes I was determined that it wasn’t just going to be full of cake photos.  No offence to all those bloggers whose sites are populated by cake, but most of the time I’m pretty incapable of making my cakes look as good as they taste.  However, it’s National Cupcake Week so I wanted to share a cake recipe…mainly because the photos turned out alright, but also because it’s simple and kinda classy – in that it’s inspired by a cocktail.

    The French Martini sounds fancier than it is, in reality it’s a pretty simple drink; three ingredients, shaken with ice and strained into a martini glass.  It was designed in the 1980s, during the revival of cocktail culture  – I highly recommend watching the gloriously trashy movie Cocktail starring Tom Cruise for some historical background.  Be warned there’s a hell of a lot of flaring bottles and other such nonsense, but don’t let that put you off.

    Anyway French Martini cupcakes.  A while ago, I went through a phase of baking a load of alcohol-inspired cakes…because everyone needs a hobby right?  The French Martini’s three ingredients of vodka, raspberry liqueur and pineapple juice were pretty simple to recreate into a cake because you get rid of one of the ingredients straight away.  Light spirits are tricky to bake with and tend to be overtaken by other flavours, so basic sponge cake takes its place.  Pineapple jam filling is best; pineapple sponge would be too much and lets try and keep our cake balanced, okay team?  Finally raspberry liqueur is added to the buttercream icing to give it a pinkish colour, like the drink.  And sprinkles, because this drink was created during the glitzy 80s.  And there you have it, French Martini cupcakes.

    Recipe: French Martini cupcakes
     
    Prep time
    Cook time
    Total time
     
    Inspired by the 1980s cocktail, this is the recipe for a batch of French Martini cupcakes
    Author:
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Serves: 12
    Ingredients
    Cake
    • 110g butter or margarine
    • 110g caster sugar
    • 2 eggs, free-range
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 110g self-raising flour
    • 1-2 tbsp milk
    • Pineapple jam
    Icing
    • 140g butter, softened
    • 280g icing sugar
    • Raspberry liqueur
    • Sprinkles to decorate
    Instructions
    1. Pre-heat the oven to to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and line a muffin tin with pink paper cases
    2. Cream together the butter/margarine and sugar in a large bowl.
    3. Lightly beat the eggs together in a smaller bowl and then mix into the butter and sugar mixture until it's all combined.
    4. Add in the vanilla extract and milk.
    5. Sieve the flour and fold into the batter.
    6. Divide into the cupcake cakes and bake in the oven until the tops are springy and you can insert a fork and it comes out clean.
    7. Leave to cool.
    8. Once the cakes are cool,cut a small hole about the size of a 5p piece in the centre of the top of the cake - be careful not to go through the entire cake, and keep the top layer of the hole so you can reseal the cake (so it works like a lid).
    9. Spoon in a small amount of pineapple jam into the hole and add the cake-lid back on.
    10. Make the icing by combining the butter and icing sugar and slowly adding a little raspberry liqueur. Be careful not to add too much as you don't want it getting sticky or not being able to stay in shape.
    11. Fill an icing bag and pipe the icing onto the cupcakes or spoon on.
    12. Add sprinkles.

    cocktail inspired french martini cupcakes