To Drink Gingerbread

IMG_4491I know Christmas is over. And New Year’s is done too. And this is really something more suited to the Christmas season. But I couldn’t resist posting this martini I created over the holidays. Yes I created it!

I was on a gingerbread kick over Christmas, looking for different ways to enjoy this delectable Christmas flavor. I had already discovered and tested gingerbread waffles, gingerbread muffins and of course gingerbread cookies (classic). Earlier this Fall I was delving into the martini world, trying some Halloween ones, pumpkin one, and a few others. I thought there must be a gingerbread one I can make.

So I hopped on Pinterest, my new favorite go to for recipes and looked it up. I found a number of recipes but most of them had Baileys in it and I wanted to avoid the dairy. There were some that were almost but not quite. So I decided to experiment, I took parts that I liked from different recipes and combined and adjusted them, creating my own version of the gingerbread martini. Dairy free, not quite sugar free, there’s just a teensy bit in it, I tried to get it completely sugar free but couldn’t quite do it (maybe down the road I’ll figure it out get it completely sugar free). Though honestly you would never know, this is a very sweet martini and extremely delicious.

Once I got all the components right and tried it, I phoned my Mum to share. She immediately wanted the recipe and went to try it herself. 20 minutes later she phoned back with one word, “Yum”.

Now I realize it is not the Christmas season when gingerbread is most popular but I could not sit on this delectable recipe for an entire year! Besides isn’t gingerbread good any time of year? Valentine’s? or Christmas in July.

Give it a try. If you like gingerbread you’ll love this. Enjoy!IMG_4493

Gingerbread Martini

1 1/2 ounces (3 tbsp.) vodka

1 ounce (2 tbsp.) gingerbread syrup*

1/2 ounce (1 tbsp.) Creme de cacao

1/2 ounce (1 tbsp.) unsweetened coconut milk (I used Silk unsweetened coconut milk)

Put all ingredients in a martini shaker filled with ice. Shake to mix. Pour into martini glass. May adorn glass with mini gingerbread cookie if desired.

*Gingerbread Syrup

IMG_4497

Gingerbread Syrup

1/2 c. water

1/2 c. coconut sugar

4 tbsp. barley malt

1 tsp. ground ginger

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

In a small saucepan, mix together water, coconut sugar, barley malt, ginger and cinnamon. Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sugar dissolves. Let syrup cool before using in drink. May be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.


Once Upon a Christmas

One of the things that I love about Christmas is all the activities and events that surround the holiday. There are craft fairs, carol sings, Christmas parties and many community events that you can choose to participate in to celebrate the season. There is something for everyone, depending on what you like to do.

One of my favorite events is Heritage Park’s Once Upon a Christmas, that runs every weekend starting late November for the 4 weeks prior to Christmas. This is a wonderful family event that includes all kinds of activities for kids and adults alike. They offer kids crafts, visits with Santa, carolers, plays, wagon rides, mazes and a ‘Kids Only’ Store where parents are not allowed to enter with their children. This year they added firepits placed throughout the park, which are great places to cozy up and have a chat and warm up by the fire.

There is so much to do there that it is easy to spend the day. The challenge is that most of it is outside so you have to be to dress for the weather and be prepared to be outside. So for me I always choose a mild weekend to go with the kids. It is much more enjoyable for everyone and we can stay longer and enjoy what the park has to offer.

As this turned out to be a mild weekend, I decided to pack up the kids Sunday morning and head out. Though it was a bit of a challenge to get us all out the door (and I would have prefered to have left half an hour earlier than we did), we made it there with a packed lunch, hot chocolate and gingerbread cookies, dressed and ready to go.

Luke and Chloe love Heritage Park so I had no trouble convincing them to go, in fact they chatted about it the day before hoping to see the “choo choo train”, which only runs in the summertime, but I told them we would ‘check’. Matthew enjoys the park as well and though he had mixed feelings about going easily went out the door.

I always hit the wagon rides first, as the line for that tends to get long as the day goes on. Plus Chloe loves horseys, so was looking forward to it. Chloe was beaming and smiling and pointing things out, while Luke was just taking it all in.

Matthew's Christmas Reindeer

We ventured to the kids crafts where Matthew made a clothespin reindeer and Luke and Chloe made little puppets out of old Christmas cards and popsicle sticks. This area is really well set up, as there is a selection of craft ‘kits’ that the kids can choose from to make their craft and there are lots of volunteers on hand to help the kids out. For the younger children they have coloring sheets and the puppets as options.

Matthew really wanted to hit the Kids Only Store as he went for the first time last year and really enjoyed the freedom of shopping on his own and spending some money 🙂 We also saw Santa and went to the petting zoo.

Luke petting the sheep

The highlight for me though was definitely the Christmas Model Railway, housed in the pool hall. It is one of those as soon as you walk in you go “Wow”; as it really is a Christmas wonderland. There are at least 3 or 4 trains going around this beautiful Christmas scene, villages and houses, lights and trees. I love it because I have always loved trains, and the magical Christmas scenes. I have no idea why I love trains so much, but I think they are cool, especially the model railways that go around and around all by themselves. Which is interesting cause that’s all it does is go around and around- but I could watch it for hours. The railway was really well done; on loan from some private collectors, it was a beautiful site.

The Christmas Railway

We chowed down on peanut butter sandwiches and carrot sticks on a bench outside Gunn’s Dairy Barn and enjoyed homemade hot chocolate, made with fresh almond milk (very easy to make your own), cacao, and spices, as well as homemade gingerbread cookies (sugar and dairy free of course). It was a bright sunny day with clear blue skies, a perfect wintery day, with the air of Christmas all around.

After walking and exploring we headed home, tired but satiated and satisfied with our Christmas adventures. Who knows where we’ll go next?