Create Seasonal Flavor Drinks With The Needles From Your Christmas Tree

January 3, 2019

ID 83637285 © Ksenia Samorukova | Dreamstime.com

Sadly, Christmas is over and Christmas trees have begun to line up on the side of the road.  But before any Christmas tree reaches its final destination, it can have a chance at a second life; at least its needles can. The needles can be snipped and used to create a spruce beer or ale.  Spruce beer dates at least back to the ancient Scandinavians, who believed it would give them strength in battle, increase fertility and combat scurvy (they contain vitamin C). Founding Father, Benjamin Franklin famously brought back his spruce beer recipe from Paris and has been widely shared across the world. Today many craft brewers create a seasonal spruce beer, you can make a family project of creating your own spruce soda with molasses, ginger, brown sugar and seltzer!  Although spruce's piney terpene flavor is an acquired taste, you can create some pine cocktails that offer less spruce flavor but adds some winter zest to some classic drinks.

SPRUCE SELTZER

Ingredients

  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups molasses
  • 2 ounces sassafras root, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh gingerroot
  • 3/4 teaspoon oil of spruce
  • 3 cups dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons maltodextrin (optional)

Instructions

  • 1. Combine the water, molasses, sassafras, ginger, and spruce oil in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally; let simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
  • 2. Blend the brown sugar and maltodextrin (if using), and gradually add the mixture to the simmering root infusion, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Then remove from the heat, let cool to room temperature, and strain. Add 1/2 cup spruce syrup to 1 2/3 cups seltzer water for a seasonal treat. This syrup will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.

CLICK HERE for spruce beer recipes

CLICK HERE for spruce-flavored cocktails 

SOURCE: Mother Nature Network

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