What could be better than jam on a slice of toast?
Maybe if that jam had its flavour enhanced by the addition of a favourite liquor?
Well, that was the thinking of Dawn Horbach of Porcupine Plain, the lady behind The Booze Artist.
“I’ve been working on the process for five years to get the alcohol to jell,” she explained as she tended her booth at this year’s Grain Millers Harvest Showdown in Yorkton.
That process, one she admits is something of a trade secret now, was finally successful after four years “of trial and error”.
The search for the secret to jelling liquor started one day when Horbach was making some raspberry jam. A bottle of chocolate liqueur, one she admitted not to liking a lot, sat on a shelf basically untouched.
“I thought chocolate goes with raspberry, so I put it in the jam,” she said. “It did taste delicious but it wouldn’t set.”
Perseverance and years finally led to a way to use liquor and still have the resulting jams and jellies set.
With the process working on most liquors, tequila and vodka still proving impossible to make jell, Horbach began selling her infused jams and jellies about 12 months ago.
The alcohol is essentially lost in the cooking process “so it’s all child friendly,” she said, but its use does add to the overall flavour palette.
“I do believe the alcohol enhances the fruit flavour.”
When typically making jams and jellies the cooking process can retract from the fresh flavor of a fruit, suggested Horbach.
“The alcohol kind of rejuvenates it,” she said.
There was still experimenting to be done.
“Sometimes the flavours didn’t work,” said Horbach, but now her roster of flavours is a large one, with 10 different liquors used from Scotch to Champagne to rum and of course chocolate liqueur. In addition 24 different fruits and blends are used.
Horbach said her favourites tend toward those created to use to enhance cooking of meats and other dishes, such as ‘Hot Apple Toddy’ an apple jelly that is enhanced with brandy and red chillies, that is tasty with cheese, or ‘Cherry Bomb’ made with sweet cherries and Prairie cherry whiskey, and ‘That’s One Hot Scot’ a mango jam with Scotch and chillies that is good with pork.
The jams and jellies are made in an approved kitchen as Horbach is also a caterer.
The product is sold in a few stores, and at trade shows such as the one in Yorkton.
“I love doing the trade shows,” said Horbach, who added interestingly different communities seem to have favoured jam choices.
“Every place is different,” she said, adding ‘Hot Apple Toddy’ and ‘Hit the Rhubarb’ have proven popular at Harvest Showdown.
In Regina its ‘Espresso Yourself’, while Melfort patrons favoured ‘Mango Fandango; and in Preeceville ‘Hot Blues Jam’ sold best.
The Booze Artist also does mail order and can be found on Instagram and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
For additional Harvest Showdown coverage check out; Farmer Recognition Award winner, chore team competition, Clydesdale Cup winner, students tour event, unique jams and jellies, commercial cattle show, Council herds sheep, horse pulls