Thursday, 5 April 2012

Brew your own and stick two fingers up at Osbourne.

Now, aside from looking like an amorphous mass of Piers Morgan and John Cusack that's popped out of a pod from "The Fly", Mr G.Osbourne is also a very mean man. Not content with giving money to the richest and taking it away from the plebs, he also has to ruin any fun we might behaving in the meantime by pricing a Greggs out of our league and making it nigh on impossible to get a decent bottle of wine for under a fiver. It's not enough to be poor, the poor must be sober, and try to get thinner, while they scrape their barrels and weep at the return of the 1980's.

I like a drink. I like a glass of wine in the garden, lounge or kitchen. I like rose, white and red. I don't believe that having a drink stops me being a parent. I don't overdo it and end up passed out on the floor for school pick up time. I don't have any other vices left, and I'm rather fond of this one. I am naturally weaning myself off the booze by dint of getting older anyway. I fully expect to be practically teetotal and only having an eggnog at Xmas by the time i'm 75. So I do rather resent being told, by a fat champagne sipping Tory that i'm to cough up more money per unit on account of the government telling us off for being drunks, and wanting more money in their greasy little fat paws.

My solution is to brew my own. I can brew 30 bottles for the princely sum of 16 quid. It's not scary, and the wine is quaffable, if not princely vintage. Here's what you need to start. The best way to start and gain confidence is by using a wine kit, which has all the little packets of yeast and finings in.
2 brewing buckets with, airlocks, taps and lids
2 wine kits
6 bags of sugar.
That's it. The buckets cost about a tenner, all in with taps and airlocks, and the wine kits start at about 15 quid, and range up to 30 quid for posh ones. So your first laying out of money might be a bit of an "ow", but once you've got the kit, you've got the makings of wine forever, cheaply. The kit often turns up at carboots, too.
In bucket one, mix up the wine kit, add sugar and yeast, wait 10 days. Rack it off into second bucket. Add finings (in a little packet included in wine kits. It's the stuff that clears the wine and makes it see through rather than cloudy). Mix up other wine kit in now empty bucket, start process again. Wait 5 days for wine kit 1. Drink. It's that easy. All you need is a big ladle to stir, some idea of cleanliness (boiling water sterilise everything before you start), and a small amount of patience. Oh, and place to put a bucket of booze. It works best indoors because it needs a fairly warm and fairly consistent temperature. But that said, both my buckets are in the kitchen, and that fluctuates pretty much, and all the wine has been fine.

The next step is to move onto Country Wines. That is, alcoholic stuff you make from stuff that is free. Like dandelions, blackberries, elderflowers. The season is upon us for dandelions, and so once there are enough upon us to gather sufficient petals, i'll be making it and blogging it. If you'd like to do it alongside, you'll need a demijohn, wine yeast and a bung/airlock. Go to a carboot and rummage for some now. You'll also need patience, since once made, this wine needs 12 -18 months to be clear and drinkable. Although, if memory serves me well, it's lethally intoxicating. My nan used to serve hers in tiny glasses and lay cushions down first. And then, once the dandelions are done, it's elderflower champagne.

I might be impoverished, but I can at least be pished. Seek out a bucket, for next week is dandelion week.

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