Krupnik is a spiced Polish honey vodka that is typically served hot, often with a pat of butter. I first learned of it from Diana Henry's Salt Sugar Smoke, and loved the idea of it for gift giving because it can be made well ahead of time. I tried a non-spiced quick version at home to get a sense for its level of sweetness, and was pleasantly surprised by how delicious the honey flavor was. I thought it would be nicely enhanced with some warm spices and rooibos or honeybush tea. I had some mandarins on hand, so added their skins to the mix. The end result is tasty and comforting -- perfect for a blustery or bitingly cold evening. This krupnik will definitely make it into my holiday gifts this year. —hardlikearmour
about 1 quart/liter
cups mild floral honey like clover or orange blossom
Combine honey and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and skim any scum that formed. Add the mandarin peels, contents of tea bags, and spices. Cover then return to low heat and gently simmer for 15 minutes.
Remove from heat and add the vodka. Cover and let sit for 48 hours.
Strain through a very fine mesh strainer or several layers of cheesecloth into a bottle. Seal and keep in a cool, dark place. After about a week, there will be sediment on the bottom. Strain off the liquid into 1 to 4 gift bottles. It can be stored for up to a year.
Attach a label to each bottle with number of servings that reads something like: Rooibos (or Honeybush) Krupnik should be heated before serving. For extra deliciousness add a small pat of butter to each serving. (Note: I like to serve it in 4ish ounce espresso mugs as it is rather potent.)
I am an amateur baker and cake decorator. I enjoy cooking, as well as eating and feeding others. I live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with my husband and our menagerie. I enjoy outdoor activities including hiking, mushroom hunting, tide pooling, beach combing, and snowboarding.