This is my favorite time of year; the crispness in the mornings, the leaves turning red and yellow and the hint of smokiness in the air as people are lighting their fire places.
It’s time to harvest and forage to make sure winter will be bearable. Obviously a major book haul is in order (for me winter is very much “big book season”) but the bar cart needs a few additions too.
I’ve made Romtopf for a few years now; basically you take berries, mix them with sugar and cover them in rum. Ok it’s not that easy but almost. I had a recipe at one point but now I improvise kind of. With an eye to hygiene of course. The berries will be a delicious and very grown-up dessert around Christmas and the liquid that’s left over can be used for cocktails. You can read more here. (and it’s OK to use store-bought berries)
Sloe gin is a delight and I make my own which is superior to anything you can buy. Nice as an aperitif, a cocktail ingredient or just a “Sloe gin&tonic”. I will be out picking some sloes. The instructions from Jamie Oliver that you can find here are similar to how I make mine.
The last of “the harvest” is in; it’s a good time to make flavored sugars like mixing in lavender stalks in caster sugar (nice for baking and sugaring the rim of cocktail glasses. This can also be used to make a lavender-syrup). There are so many ways to experiment with this. A few ideas can be found here.