I love the festive season and it’s lurking backstage in my mind throughout the year. I freely admit that I stockpile gifts, plan my packaging theme and generally have everything buttoned down tighter than a Kardashian’s shirt by October… which leaves me with plenty of time to kick back and watch the rest of the population play out the reality version of Where’s Wally. Where’s the woman trailing the 3-metre-long shopping list in Checkers five minutes before the doors close? Where’s the twenty husbands all frantically foraging the barren landscape of the Edgars’ perfume department on Christmas Eve? Et al.
I don’t get those Scrooge-y characters who treat December like the end of days – Christmas is like everyone’s birthday! It’s like we’re all in that episode of Oprah where “You’re all getting one!!!”.* I first came across Scrooge himself (the literary character – I’m not old enough to have met him personally. I hope) when I was very young. My dad bought me a copy of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens before I could even read, and even when I could read I couldn’t read it because it’s in this old-school font. I have absolutely loved the story ever since the day I mastered the beautiful old English hieroglyphics, and I love all the movie versions (including the Muppet one).
If you have your own personal Scrooge, give them a taste of the Christmas spirit in this mint humbug cream liqueur – a recipe inspired by a lazy summer afternoon and a can of the newly-launched peppermint Caramel Treat. It’s so delicious that I did a little more sensory evaluation than was absolutely necessary and accidentally consumed about a third of it in an afternoon. It’s like butterscotch and peppermint having a cuddle while wearing velour tracksuits with the word “Juicy” across the bum (the tracksuit was another giveaway that everyone got on Oprah). That sounds ridiculous but try it and you’ll agree.
To make about 3 and a half cups of Bah! Humbug! Liqueur:
- 1 can Nestle Caramel Treat – Peppermint flavour (290g)
- 1 can Nestle Dessert Cream (320g)
- ½ cup milk
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ cup vodka or to taste – I prefer mine to be quite subtle, rather than knocking the other ingredients sideways and rendering them impossible to taste.
Decant the caramel and cream into a large mixing bowl. They would have set a bit in the cans, so give them a thorough beating with a whisk until they’re smooth. Beat them like they’re bad kids who are getting coal in their Christmas stockings.
Add the sugar and milk and beat a few minutes more until the sugar is dissolved, then mix in the vodka.
Taste to check the balance of sweet versus boozy. It seems a bit crazy to add sugar when there’s already an entire tin of caramel in there, but to me it takes the vicious edge off of the vodka. The milk is necessary to thin things down a bit, as the mix will thicken in the fridge and create the alcoholic equivalent of peanut butter sticking to your palate. Taste often and adjust as needed. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery afterwards.
Pour into squeaky clean glass bottles or jars and keep in the fridge. I would have done a test to check how long it can be kept – but it’s never stuck around for longer than two days, so I can’t tell you.
Give it a good shake before serving over lots of ice in pretty glasses while watching the sun go down, or over vanilla ice-cream for breakfast – it’s the Silly Season and you can get away with it.