Friday, December 20, 2019

Signe Johansen’s Spirited and her Agua de Jamaica

It continues to be really very pleasant not working in retail over Christmas, but it’s made me more sympathetic towards those who do than ever. The city centre is taking on a bedraggled end of the party look. Sales have started in a lot of places, and we’ve reached the point where you get to buy what’s left as delivery dates pass. 

In retail the next few days are just about taking what money you can and getting through it all, and because that’s been me for the last 2 decades it’s easy to forget that some people are only just starting their plans as hey finish work for the year. 

With that in mind ‘Spirited’ might be an extremely useful book to have around over the next few weeks. Johansen’s books have always been good and her approach to drinks is no exception. She’s intent on breaking down the slightly matcho image of the mixologist with a lot of specialist equipment and replacing it with something much easier to do at home,

I also really like that she places proper emphasis on non alcoholic drinks, especially at a time of year when there’s so much pressure to drink a bit more than is sensible. There are a selection of recipes from ‘Spirited’ Here which give a good idea of what to expect from the book, and as with the hibiscus based recipes in Mark Diacono’s ‘Sour’ it’s the Agua de Jamaica that’s caught my eye.

There’s a lot to be said for drinks where the effort (although it hardly qualifies as such) can be done ahead of people being around. This calls for a couple of hibiscus tea bags, half a small pineapple sliced but not peeled, a 330ml bottle of ginger beer, a couple of untaxed limes sliced up, and ice.

Put the teabags in a heatproof pitcher with a litre of boiling water infuse for 10 minutes. Remove the teabags and add the pineapple then leave to completely cool. Add the other ingredients, taste and adjust as needed, add some ice and it’s good to go. 

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