Having foraged some Sweet Woodruff around Bristol recently, meant while left drying, my whole flat was taken over by its delicate scent of vanilla, Amaretto, rose, and lime. I just couldn’t resist making some Sweet Woodruff Vodka Jelly, a party staple from Germany. It looks and tastes so innocent but don’t be fooled, it contains plenty of vodka and is not for the fainthearted.
The beauty about this recipe is that you can choose how much vodka you’d like to add (if any at all to make it child friendly) to your Sweet Woodruff Jelly. I’ve used 400ml (13.5 fl oz) of water and 100ml (3.5 fl oz) of vodka but you can change the ratio as long as the total makes up 500ml (17 fl oz).
When cooking with Sweet Woodruff, it’s important not to use it immediately after picking as it needs some time to develop its lovely aroma. A couple of hours are enough but it can be left to dry out completely and stored in an air tight container for later usage. Be careful, this is a strong plant and can be overpowering, only infuse creams or jellies for half an hour max, to avoid it becoming bitter and tasting earthy, which is not the desired flavour.
If you’re not sure how to recognise Sweet Woodruff or where to find it, take a look at the previous post Meet the Master of the Woods – Sweet Woodruff.
Sweet Woodruff Vodka Jelly Ingredients (makes approx. 600ml/20 fl oz)
Preparation Time: 10-15 minutes
Resting: 15-20 minutes for infusion & several hours (or over night) for chilling
You will also need: Molds or bowls
Keeps: up to a week in the fridge
- 400ml(13.5 fl oz) water
- 100g (1/2 cup) sugar
- 4-6 sprigs of sweet woodruff (wilted)
- Juice of 1 lemon or lime
- 8 gelatine leaves
- 100ml/ (3.5 fl oz) vodka
- Small amount of green food colouring (optional)
1. Bring the water and sugar to boil.
2. Remove from the heat and add the sweet woodruff.
3. Leave to infuse for 15-30 minutes. Keep checking as if left too long it can start tasting quiet earthy which is not the desired flavour.
4. In the meantime soak the gelatine in a small bowl of COLD water. Once soft, squeeze out the water and leave in the bowl until needed.
5. Remove the sweet woodruff and add the juice of one lemon or lime.
6. Add a tiny amount of green food colouring (optional).
7. Strain the sirup in a fine sieve to remove any pulp.
8. Bring back to boil and remove from the heat again to briefly cool down.
9. Add the softened gelatine until everything has dissolved.
Note: Never add gelatine to boiling/simmering liquids as the dish wont set sufficiently afterwards.
10. Add the vodka and give it a good stir.
11. Pour the liquid into a jug and fill into your preferred dishes i.e. some ice cube trays or just a couple of bowls.
Note: If using silicone ice cube trays, make sure you place them on a tray before filling them as they become very wobbly and difficult to move to the fridge without spilling half of its content.
12. Chill in the fridge for several hours, ideally over night.
13. Once set and you’re ready to serve, briefly immerse into hot water to easily unmold the Sweet Woodruff Vodka Jelly. If the Jelly is served in a bowl, just ignore this step.
14. Don’t underestimate the potency of the Vodka Jelly, as the alcohol is added towards the end, it doesn’t lose in strength. It’s not suitable for children, pregnant or anyone driving!!!