The ScotchBlog Test Kitchen featuring Drambuie

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Drambuie is a whisky liqueur made from a blend of grain and malt whiskies from the Speyside and Highland regions which is then mixed with a honeyed "elixir" that combines to give the liqueur it's distinct syrupy consistency and it's bright flavours of: honey, cloves, anise, cinnamon, citrus zest, ginger and light floral aromas. When I think of Drambuie, I think of the holidays and I typically drink it neat, on the rocks, or in a Rusty Nail. However, a chance re-acquaintance with Drambuie back in October led Matt and I to contemplate the possible pairings and recipes that would make the best use of "Bonnie Prince Charlie's" dram. 

To be honest, cooking with Drambuie is quite a challenge. The rich honeyed sweetness, the strong herbal component that becomes even more dominant when the liquid is heated and the floral element of the liqueur present a myriad of flavour bridges to your dish but achieving the desired balance of flavours is where it gets difficult. It's easy to add too much Drambuie and blow out the harmony of flavours. My best advice is to follow the rule "less is more" when it comes to cooking with Drambuie. The recipes below are a fun way to show off some culinary prowess this holiday season while introducing, or re-introducing, Drambuie to your friends and family: 

Drambuie Macerated Fruit

Drambuie-infused Homemade Marshmallows 

Sweet Potato Casserole with Drambuie Marshmallow topping

Drambuie Duck Drops

Drambuie Macerated Fruit

First up is an easy way to add some "flair" to your Christmas fruit-based or fruit-filled dishes, i.e. fruitcakes, mincemeat, tarts, stuffings by macerating dried or candied fruit in Drambuie.

Maceration is a process of soaking fruit in alcohol to rehydrate, soften and produce a flavour exchange between the alcohol and the fruit. 

If you've got some dried fruit or ripe fruit in the house, experiment with it. The maceration will give you a re-hydrated fruit to work with and a married flavour of fruit and Drambuie with which to play. If you're going to macerate different types of fruit, put them in separate bowls so as not to mix the different types of fruit, you'll want to taste the results individually and determine which flavours you enjoy.

With the dried or ripe fruit in a bowl, add as much Drambuie as necessary to just cover the fruit, cover the bowl and let it sit as long as you like. Try a bite of fruit and a sip of the liquid at 12 hours and if you'd like a stronger product, let it go overnight. When you are content with the taste of the fruit, separate the liquid from the fruit and reserve both. You will require these for the Drambuie Duck Drops recipe below. 

We macerated: 
Candied ginger
Thompson raisins
Dried cranberries 
Apples 
Dried apricots 

The macerated candied ginger was bright, flavourful and was a beautiful match with Drambuie. The liquid is amazing as well. The cranberries and apricots were also good matches with Drambuie and when pureed are the beginnings of a great fruit sauce or topping. Candied, or otherwise, orange or lemon peel would also be a great flavour combo you could try.

Drambuie-infused Homemade Marshmallows 

This recipe is adapted from a post by Caitlin Freeman on Food52.com and rather than reproduce it all here, you should read the recipe and the instructions in the original and then refer to our helpful suggestions and substitutions that appear below. Don't feel intimidated, this isn't a terribly hard recipe but will require a couple of attempts to get it perfect. You will indubitably wow and amaze your guests when you can present your own homemade infused marshmallows on their own or integrated into another of your culinary creations. The variety of flavours, colours, and shapes is nearly limitless so have fun with it! 

Our first substitution was to swap Moonshine for Drambuie and vodka. We added 1 tbsp of Drambuie to the sugar syrup mixture but when it came time to add the alcohol to the gelatin we made a 3:1 mixture of vodka and Drambuie: 1 tsp + 1/2 tsp vodka and 1/2 tsp Drambuie. 

The next substitution was developed out of necessity as we weren't able to track down any Agave syrup on short notice, which for Toronto readers can most likely be found at Latin American grocery stores or higher-end grocery chains. We substituted with corn syrup and added a bit of water in an attempt to achieve a similar level of consistency and sweetness. We kept the original measurement of 1/4 cup of Agave syrup using corn syrup instead and stirred in 2 tbsp of water. 

When it comes time to make the hot sugar syrup, we highly recommended that you use a thermometer and keep a close eye on the pot as it's liable to start boiling out of nowhere and if left too long begins to form "rocks" of sugar that do not blend well into the gelatin mixture. 
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When it's at a gentle boil, remove from heat and pour into the gelatin mixture.

Here's where it got tricky.

I don't own a stand mixer, I only have a hand blender. Also the lowest setting is, basically, fast. So even on low, it was a struggle not to have the whole mixture flinging everywhere. It's been a week and I'm still finding clear globs of sugar on my blinds and high up on the cabinets. 

If you don't have a stand mixer, I suggest using a conventional hand whisk and integrating gently for the first couple of minutes until it cools slightly and starts to thicken. Then bring out the hand-mixer with the whisk attachment for the rest of the procedure. If you notice lumps or hard candy rocks starting to stick to the bottom of the bowl, hold the whisk attachment over them and try to break them down to integrate into the mixture. You're going for a smooth, glossy texture and you want to avoid crunchy bits! 

If it's stuck to the bowl and not moving, you're fine - just work around it. If there are clumps that won't break down: pause, turn off the hand mixer, and quickly scoop 'em out before resuming. Stop whisking when the mixture is smooth, glossy, and holds medium-firm peaks. It won't begin to resemble marshmallow until around the 5-minute mark. Don't sweat the timing. When it looks done, it's done. 
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Basically, use the timing in the recipe as a guideline: more than 5 minutes but no more than 11 minutes.Work quickly to move the marshmallow mixture from the bowl to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and icing sugar and allow to cool and rest for 3-4 hours.

Finally, if you're not happy with the appearance of your marshmallows simply turn 'em into S'mores and your guests will gobble 'em up faster than you can blink and no one will notice the rough edges of your homemade marshmallows!   

Marshmallow photo appears courtesy of Clay McLachlan and Food52.com



Sweet Potato Casserole with Drambuie Marshmallow topping 

While this may sound like a bizarre side dish sweet potatoes topped with marshmallow is a common sight at Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners in the southern American states. I defy you to find someone who won't enjoy this sweet, airy, and gooey casserole!

Ingredients:
4 sweet potatoes
2 tbsp Orange Juice 
1 tbsp Drambuie
2 tbsp melted salted butter
2 tbsp brown sugar 
2 cups Drambuie Marshmallows or Store-bought Marshmallows
Dash of ground cinnamon 
Dash of ground nutmeg 

Equipment:
Casserole dish 
Medium to large pot 

Bring a medium to large pot with enough salted water to cover the potatoes to a boil. While the water is heating, peel sweet potatoes and roughly chop into 1 inch cubes. When the water has come to a boil add the sweet potato cubes and let cook until they can be pierced with a fork but they shouldn't be soft or crumbly.

Dump the contents of the pot into a colander to strain the potatoes and allow to cool. 

Pre-heat oven to 350F. In a small bowl combine: 2 tbsp Orange Juice, 2 tbsp of brown sugar, 2 tbsp melted salted butter, 1 tbsp Drambuie, a dash of ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg. 

Once potatoes have cooled a bit, place them in a large mixing bowl and mash until smooth. Then, fold in the liquid mixture to the potatoes. 

Spoon into a casserole dish to make a smooth, even surface. 

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. While the casserole is baking, thinly slice the Drambuie Marshmallows. 

After 20 minutes remove the casserole dish from the oven and turn the oven to 400F. 

Gently, place the thin pieces of Drambuie Marshmallows on top of the casserole to form a covering layer of marshmallow. If you are using store-bought marshmallows, dot the surface with the marshmallows and evenly cover. 

Roast in the oven for 10 minutes or until the marshmallows have puffed and begun to brown.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before eating. 
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Bonus pairing: Serve with the seasonally available Great Lakes Brewery Winter ale

Drambuie Duck Drops 

Won-tons or "pot-stickers" are an easy "assembly-style" dish that you can use to to help finish off your your leftover Christmas or holiday bird meat. We are big fans of roast goose or duck instead of the conventional roast turkey or chicken for Christmas dinner but if you aren't a fan of game birds, or didn't prepare one this holiday season, you can use whatever bird is at hand. 

The flavour bridge between the Drambuie and your bird of choice is the Drambuie macerated fruit from above and seasoning the meat with Chinese Five Spice a commonly available ground spice mixture that contains: Fennel, Anise, Cinnamon, Ginger, and Clove. 

The recipe below is meant to be scaled depending on how much leftover bird you have and how much Drambuie macerated fruit and ginger liquid you prepared in the first recipe. 

Ingredients:
Won-ton wrappers 
Leftover roast duck, shredded from the carcass and finely diced with a dash of Chinese Five Spice to taste
1 1/2 cup of peanut oil 
1 egg 
Chinese Five Spice 
1/4 cup Drambuie macerated ginger liquid 
1/2 cup Drambuie macerated apricot 
1/2 cup Drambuie macerated dried cranberry 

Equipment:
Thermometer
Small pot

To create the won-ton fillings you'll need to separate Drambuie macerated ginger and reserve the liquid. You may wish to keep the Drambuie-infused ginger for another use or discard. 

Then, using an immersion blender, puree the Drambuie macerated apricot and liquid together. Do the same for the Drambuie macerated dried cranberry. Keep the apricot and cranberry separate as these will be the choices for fillings.

In a small pot, heat 1 1/2 cup of peanut oil to 300F. As the oil is coming to temperature, whisk 1 egg in a small bowl that you will use to help seal the won-ton. 

Prepare a plate with layers of paper towel to use as a place to put the hot, fried, won-tons when they emerge from the oil. 

Won-ton preparation: 
Lay the won-ton out flat and brush edges with egg wash. In the centre of the square place: 1 tsp of chopped duck 1/2 tsp of ginger liquid 1/2 tsp of cranberry or apricot.
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Fold points of square to middle, pinch and twist together so that it looks like a head of garlic. 

Drop into the oil for about 20-30 sec or until golden brown. 

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Serve on a plate with Drambuie Hoisin sauce for dipping in a bowl.

Drambuie Hoisin sauce
1 1/2 oz Drambuie
1 tsp Hoisin 
Chinese Five Spice 

To create the sauce mix a couple of pinches of Chinese Five Spice with 1 1/2 oz Drambuie, 1 tsp Hoisin Sauce in a bowl. Adjust to taste.

Matt and I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of working with Drambuie and we look forward to getting your feedback on these recipes.  If you have any questions on the methodologies described above please write in the comments section and we'll get back to you as soon as possible. Likewise if you have a Drambuie recipe of your own to share, feel free to write it out in full in the comments!

ScotchBlog.ca would like to thank Cheryl Willberg at 1Milk2SugarPR and Drambuie for generously providing us with a sample of Drambuie to conduct our Test Kitchen experiments.

3 Comments

The duck drops sound really great. I've used Drambuie to glaze a ham, which turned out incredibly good!

Thanks Curt! Any tips to share with readers who may wish to try glazing a ham with Drambuie?

drambuie tastes good but unfortunetely it cost too expensive here in my country

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