In order to explain this recipe, I must admit something here: I love love love the Harry Potter books.
A few years ago, after I'd read the actual books, L gave me the audiobooks. When I am in the mood for a comfortable, familiar voice and story, when I want to zone out, or when I want to hear something calming as I fall asleep (audiobooks are great for shutting up a racing brain at bedtime), I put on one of those recordings. I think it must drive L nuts- or maybe it's so far past that now that he can just tune it out!
Pumpkin pasties and butter beer aside, every time I hear the Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge order red currant rum, I've thought about how superbly delicious that sounds. Alas, as it so often is with things you crave (nevermind the fact that I'd never actually tasted it), I could not find a recipe for red currant rum anywhere. Not in cookbooks, not online, and not in the hands of fellow cooking-obsessed friends.
I originally wanted to drink this rum neat, and I do like a little sweetness in my straight-up-booze, so I made multiple batches of the red currant rum with a few different natural sweeteners. As usual, I preferred the particular flavour and sweetness of honey, perhaps because it reminds me of mead, and certainly because it's a perfect, earthy foil for the bright, tart currants.
If you don't like honey,
And before you go all, "why are you posting this now? currants aren't in season until late summer!" on me, just consider how much time you now have to plan!
The Minister's Red Currant Rum
1 cup fresh or frozen red currants
1 liter white rum
3 tablespoons honey (double or triple this if you want something more like a liqueur)
You will want to make your red currant rum in a glass (not plastic) container so that you can safely use a bain-marie, or water bath, to release those yummy currant flavours. I also believe that, in general, glass is a safer container for storing foods.
To prepare your bain-marie, heat a few liters of water in a saucepan large enough to accommodate your rum container.
If your currants are fresh and on the vine, pick them off. Wash the currants gently in cold water and let them drip dry in a colander or on a clean towel.
If your currants are frozen, just defrost them in the rum.
Drop the currants into your glass container (or pour them in, if you didn't insist on using a bottle with such a tiny mouth- argh), drizzle in the honey, and then add the rum.
At this point, carefully check your bain-marie. The water doesn't need to be boiling or just-boiled, but steam should be rising from the surface. If you're using Pyrex, you can keep the water at a simmer; if you're unsure about the quality of your glass, make sure the heat under the saucepan is turned off.
Put your rum container into the bain-marie and let it sit for 10 minutes. Then, remove the rum from the bain-marie and let it sit at room temperature until cool.
Seal/stopper/cover the rum and let it sit in a cool, dark place for at least six months and up to one year. Give the container a good shake every month or so. I like concentrated flavours, so I try to keep myself away from the rum for as long as I can!
When you're ready, strain the infused rum into a clean, sterilized container.
Enjoy your red currant rum neat, in your favourite cocktail recipe, or after aging, well-sealed, in a cool, dark place for up to a few years.