Sidetracked Drinks Menu
Kentucky Apple Pie, Thandai and Berber Whisky
Written by Kieran Creevy | Photography by Claire Burge
Inspired by a programme focusing on traditional home cured and smoked hams and the moonshines of the Kentucky hill country. The Apple pie moonshine that featured used 80% proof grain alcohol, in place of the Calvados I’ve chosen, which I’d imagine would deliver a lot more kick! Even still, take care with this version as it can slip down all too easily.
1 litre Normandy cider
4 sticks cinnamon
1 nutmeg freshly grated
6 star anise
1 thumb sized piece fresh ginger, peeled
1/2 cup sugar
Put the juice, cider, sugar and spices into a large pot. Bring to the boil, turn off the heat, cover and leave to sit until cool. Remove the ginger, add the Calvados and mix well. If possible, leave for a few weeks to allow the flavours to mingle.
A traditional drink served during the Indian festival of Holi, Thandai is most commonly seen in the Northern Indian states. I’ve adapted this version to include coconut milk, an ingredient more normally found in Keralan and Goan cuisine as well as the option of white rum for a spicy, nutty alternative to Egg Nog.
300ml coconut milk
1/2 cup shelled pistachio nuts
1/2 cup blanched almonds whole
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp rose water
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp fennel seeds
3-4 kaffir lime leaves
1 tsp green cardamom pod seeds – slit the pods open and remove the black seeds.
1 cup white rum (optional)
To serve: 2-3 petals per cup, pink peppercorns, toasted fennel seeds
Toast the spices and nuts in a dry pan for 3-4 minutes, taking care not to burn either.
Pour into a large pestle and mortar and grind roughly. Pour the goats milk, coconut milk, ground spices, nuts and lime leaves into a pan. Bring to the boil, turn off the heat, add the rose water (and white rum – if using), cover and leave to infuse for an hour or two. Strain through a fine sieve, scraping as much of the nut and spice mix through the sieve as possible and bottle.(The reserved nut mix works brilliantly as a topping for porridge.)
Serve warm or cold in mugs topped with the rose petals, peppercorns and fennel seeds.
A classic offering for any westerner newly arrived in Morocco, Berber whisky is not some secret Atlas mountains version of eau de vie or poitín, but the rather more prosaic Mint Tea (at’ay b’nana). When served at home in Morocco, it can taste overly sweet for some palates, which is why I’ve elected to keep quantities to taste. For the full effect of replicating Tea in the Sahara, Berber whisky should be drunk out of decorated tea glasses and poured with ceremony from as high as possible.
Sugar cubes to taste
Fresh spearmint leaves
Gunpowder tea can be quite bitter, so for best flavour rinse twice with a little boiling water before brewing. Once you have rinsed the tea, add sugar and some mint leaves to the pot and bring to the boil. Leave to infuse for 5 minutes, pour a glass and then pour this back into the pot. Serve with additional mint leaves and sugar to taste if desired.
In addition to fifteen years work as an international mountain leader and trekking guide on five continents, Kieran has nearly two decades experience of catering for some of the most demanding customers – fellow instructors who want nutritious food with a bit flair, lots of it, now and don’t care that it’s minus 10c and snowing!Twitter @kierancreevy
Claire has been described as part chaos, part rocket fuel. When she is isn’t racing down mountains on her bicycle, you will find her behind a lens and licking the wooden spoon.Twitter @claireburge
Lizalet Oosthuizen is a dietitian and food enthusiast with a love for cooking and adventure. She has joined the team as the food stylist, but mostly it’s an excuse to taste Kieran’s delicious food.