What’s your jam?
I’m totally into the holidays. And bourbon. And I’m kind of awesome at making up my own songs. Singing them? Not so much. But I can string words together like…. Like a person who has string. And, uhhh, words.
See what I mean? Nailed it.
But seriously, you know how much I love Christmas. If I had my way the tree would be up at the beginning of November. But evidently that’s frowned upon – almost as much as my killer vocal range. And while I don’t mind waiting for the December to deck the halls and play reindeer games, when the weather gets frosty I immediately crank up the Hipster Holiday Playlist, pour a cinnamon apple whiskey sour and reach for a couple super-stuffed, cheesy bacony twice-baked potatoes or spoon up some crispy brussel sprout and mushroom risotto and settle in for a long Winters nap.
Or at least a delicious Winter feast. And maybe an extra couple of pant sizes. Because let’s be honest – I love my carbs. And cocktails. And wooly slippers.
I’m totally ready for this jelly!
Bring. It. On.
I never thought I’d be one to pull a joey. You know, to eat jam straight out of the jar with a big ‘ole spoon. And then I popped a jar of Winter WonderJam and my cheeks were suddenly “jam packed” with jam.
It’s just that damn good.
Salt Spring Kitchen co. is a quality small batch, artisanal preserve company run by Melanie Mulherin located on beautiful Salt Spring Island here in B.C. And her jam is TOTALLY my jam! Even the non-jam. Like the Pear & Ginger Chutney or Candied Jalapeños (seriously) or Meyer Lemon & Lavender Marmalade.
When asked “why jam?” she told me “my Mother-in-law taught me how to make pickles several years ago. They were a complete bust but once I knew the canning process, I was hooked. I bought every book I could find and started experimenting with every fruit & vegetable I could get my hands on. My husband and I were in the restaurant business for several years, and when it was time to do something new I decided to try and sell my preserves at the farmers market. I had no idea that it would quickly become my full time gig.”
Melanie explained to me that her heart is really into more savoury preserves than sweet (hello, kindred) so when an ingredient becomes available that inspires her, she begins by thinking what it would pair with and then develops a recipe.
Well, my sexy clever little minxes (minxi?), it seems her approach is working because her preserves teeter on dangerously delicious.
I won’t lie; I’m not ashamed. Half the jar of WonderJam quickly found a home before the other half made it into drinks – in my mouth. No bread. No pairing. No need.
Just like this drink. It’s natural, contains no additives and is loaded with love. Well, love and bourbon. But bourbon is pretty much just love in liquid form, right? And isn’t this the time of year when we should be spreading the love far and wide?
It only makes sense to me that we spread the love, the jam and the whiskey into one delicious glass. Amiright?
Rather than stick to the classic whiskey smash – which is pretty darn good by the way – I opted to flex my cocktail muscles and adapt it to Melanie’s line of preserves. I chose her WinterWonder Jam because:
A. The title was awesome-sauce.
B. I already opened and ate half the jam.
C. It mirrored the flavours in the drink – cranberries, oranges, lots of warm spices and a hefty dose of bourbon. Holla Christmas! But you could also swap it out for Salt Spring Kitchen Co’s:
- Hot Mango Jam (fo’ realz)
- Sour Cherry. Rhubarb & Rosemary Jam
- Pink Grapefruit & Rhubarb Jam-A-Lad
- Raspberry Habanero Jam
- Any other similar flavour of jam from your local farmer’s market
The smash is an open-ended cocktail, freely variable and seasonally flexible. There must be ice, though you may strain it out if you prefer. There should be fruit in season, though you may use it simply as a garnish. There should be a spirit base, though you may use your spirit of choice. Mint is a classic choice, though many other herbs can work. You may want to water your smash down a little or add a spritz of seltzer. At its heart, the smash is a wonderfully forgiving and flexible drink for using what’s on hand and for smashing it all together over ice for pure sipping bliss.
As Melanie says my friends: Peace, love, (drink) and jam.
Giveaway after the recipe…
- 1 Tbsp Winter Wonderjam (or preserves from your local farmer's market)
- 2 shots bourbon
- 2 Tbsp orange juice (approx 1 orange)
- 1/3 C soda water or ginger beer (depending how sweet or how boozy tasting you like your cocktails)
- 1 C water
- 1 C white sugar + 1/2 C white sugar
- 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp orange zest (use the orange for the cocktail)
- 1/3 C bourbon
- 2 C fresh cranberries
- Optional: 1 sprig rosemary
- Spoon preserves, bourbon and orange juice into a cocktail mixer or large mason jar.
- Top half way up the container with ice cubes.
- Cover and shake with enthusiasm for 30 seconds.
- Strain into a cocktail glass, top with soda or ginger beer and serve with garnish.
- Place water, 1 C white sugar, pure vanilla extract, orange zest and bourbon in a pot over medium heat, stirring often. When the mixture comes to a boil remove from the heat and stir until the sugar completely dissolves. Allow to cool about 5 minutes.
- Add the cranberries to the slightly cooled simple syrup and let rest 1 - 24 hours. The longer you leave the berries to sit in the syrup, the less tart and sweeter they'll be.
- Place a piece of parchment paper under a wire rack and pour the 1/2 C white sugar into a bowl. Using a slotted spoon, remove the berries from the pot and allow to drain on the rack for a couple of minutes.
- Roll the berries in the sugar and place back on the rack for about 45 minutes to dry completely.
- If using, carefully skewer 2 berries with the rosemary as a garnish. If not, just plop a couple sugar'd berries in each drink!
- The boozy sugared cranberries will keep up to 1 week in the fridge. If you find you can't use them all in drinks (c'mon people - you can do it!) serve them with desserts or cheese platters. They're divine and highly addictive!
Find Melanie and her sweet & savoury line of products: Salt Spring Kitchen Co | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | At the Salt Spring Market every Saturday from April through October, various markets around the lower mainland through out the year and at a handful of select retailers.
ENTER THE GIVEAWAY:
* Contest open to Canadian mailing addresses only and who have reached the age of majority in the province, state or territory in which they reside.
PRIZE: Mix your choice of flavours for a 6 pack of preserves from Salt Spring Kitchen Co!
MANDATORY ENTRY: Simply leave a comment below and tell me your favourite way to eat jam!
BE SURE to click the widget options below for both mandatory and optional entries because you can’t be entered to win if the widget doesn’t know you’ve done it! Your email address is ONLY used to contact you if you’ve won, not for any other purpose, and is never made public.
Giveaway closes Tuesday at 11:59PM .
Disclosure of Material Connection: Salt Spring Kitchen Co DID provide me test and review product at no cost and I was compensated for the work I did developing a recipe and taking the pictures for this post. Regardless, I only recommend, giveaway or share products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. All opinions, words and information here are entirely accurate and a reflection of my true experience and were not influenced, in any way, by the above mentioned products or companies. Opinions and views are my own. Because that’s how I roll, yo. I’ve never been one to shut my mouth – I’m not going to start now.