countryCuisine Brew your own booze
Gert Bosman loves liquor! But in a good way. A few years ago he waved goodbye to his career as an engineer and made a business out of his hobby — distilling alcohol and teaching others the skill of making brandy, rum, whisky and wine.
Text: Leilani Basson
Photography: Jannie Herbst
It’s called Distillique. You can find it on www.distilique.com. Neatly arranged on the opening page, you’ll see icons of fruit that you can click on for recipes and step by step instructions on how to make apricot brandy, banana liqueur, prickly pear schnapps, coconut rum and avocado crème liqueur.
If all this seems a bit overwhelming, click on “Training”, and you will be amazed at the myriad of courses Gert Bosman presents on how to produce the perfect booze for every occasion.
Apart from learning how fermentation works, how to brew your own beer or how to master the skill of distilling, you can even learn how to make your own bio fuel.
“Farmers mostly do the bio fuel course,” says Gert. “Clean ethanol is the perfect replacement for normal fuel. Many people run their bakkies and generators on the bio fuel they create from sugar, fruit or grain.”
While many of Gert’s clients love the mechanics of brewing in the traditional sense of the word, enjoy serious discussions on Distillique’s Distillers’ Forum, and buy all the gadgets and books it sells, others like things the easy way. This is why Gert developed a wine making kit that contains everything you need to produce 20 bottles of your own signature wine in six to 12 weeks. Really!
Other quick tricks that Gert has developed are spirit essences – concentrated, natural flavourings that one can add to vodka to create whatever taste or brand you can think of – and “spirited caviar” that will add zest and zing to anything you already like.
The technique and recipe were first launched in Paris in 2008, when it was presented to “the greatest bartenders of the world”. Spirited caviar (also called molecular mixology) is a new phenomenon that has apparently been quite a hit. It consists of small balls of liquor surrounded by a very thin gelatinous shell. Normally, strong flavoured liquor (black Sambuca or sweet chocolate liqueur) is used as a base to allow a taste explosion when you crush the caviar in your mouth.
It could be described as a drop of alcohol in a gel ball – almost like a mini truffle that “pops” in your mouth and lends a special flavour to every sip of your cocktail. It’s also “awesome” over ice cream.
“I have even used balsamic vinegar to create these balls,” says Gert. “Over a salad, it is a great alternative to sprinkling balsamic vinegar over the salad. The balls look more interesting and offer a welcome surprise to a meal.”
GERT’S FESTIVE SEASON SPIRITS
Most of us know only grape-based wines and have never had the opportunity to drink some of the delicious fruit wines. But now you can make your own fruit wine right at home, in seven easy steps. The results will amaze your friends and make for really affordable, exotic and delicious wines.
Make your own brandy, whisky or any spirit of your choice. This can now be done legally and safely at home with minimal effort. Home distilling is great fun and makes good liquor very affordable, says Gert.
Apricot brandy: http://distillique.co.za/catalog/article_info.php?articles_id=44
Liqueurs and other flavoured or infused spirits are perhaps the easiest of all to give something special to your drinks. By infusing various “botanicals” to create your own flavoured vodka or liqueurs, you can re-create some famous liqueurs or create your own. These may take five minutes to make (with spirit essences), but some may take up to two months when your infuse your own fruit and spices into neutral spirits, such as vodka.
• Banana liqueur: http://distillique.co.za/catalog/article_info.php?articles_id=45
• Butterscotch liqueur: http://distillique.co.za/catalog/article_info.php?articles_id=47
• Caramel delight: http://distillique.co.za/catalog/article_info.php?articles_id=49
• Spiced strawberry liqueur: http://distillique.co.za/catalog/article_info.php?articles_id=52
• Rhubarb liqueur: http://distillique.co.za/catalog/article_info.php?articles_id=58
For other recipes, or to order Distillique’s wine kits, liquor kits, spirit essences or a spirited caviar kit, log on to distillique.co.za. And why not join other distillers on the Distillers’ Forum to get some tips, ask advice or share your distilling nightmares and successes?