So, a few weeks ago, I decided that we were going to have a damn good Yule, dammit. And so far, it’s been pretty good. I decided to make gifts, which has consisted of making liquers and baking goodies. I also made my mom and sister some scrying incense and scrying candles.
I made 3. The first, and the one I was most excited about, was a pumpkin butterscotch liquer. I used a 20 oz bag of Werther’s Original candies and 3/4 of a medium sized pumpkin. I cleaned, cut, and peeled the pumpkin, then roasted it at 450 for about an hour. I then added both the pumpkin and candies to 2 gallons of vodka. After about 2 weeks, I strained the liquid and squeezed the holy fuck out of the bag of pumpkin pulp. The liquid left was a bit on the fatty side, since the butterscotch uses, you know, butter. It separates, which looks a little interesting, but we’ll just put ‘shake before serving’ on the label. I added another 3/4 of a medium pumpkin, and let it go for another 2 weeks.
Honestly? It was better before I added the second batch of pumpkin. The second batch kind of overpowered the butterscotch that was so strong in the beginning. Next time, I probably won’t use the Werthers again, even though the flavor is fabulous. It’s just a bit strange having a fatty liquer. Next time, I’ll probably use brown sugar and some spices. The color is kind of a murky tan. Not terribly pretty, actually.
The second used about a 8 oz of elderberries and 4 cans of mandarin orange segments. I added them and about 3 cups of sugar to 2 gallons of vodka. I let them steep for about 2 weeks, and then strained. The elderberry flavor was really strong, and I wanted more orange to come out. So I added a splash of orange extract we had laying around. I also added more elderberries just to make sure it was flavored really well, and let it go for another 2 weeks.
It turned out really well, though the orange may be a bit TOO strong now. It’s not my favorite of the 3, maybe because I thought the elderberries would have a lighter flavor. They’re kind of raisiny, which is its own kind of good, just not exactly what I thought it would be. The color is such a dark burgundy that it looks black unless you get a really strong light behind it.
The third is absolutely my surprising favorite. I used a bag of lemons (like 8 I think), and cut the yellow zest off. I then juiced all of the lemons and added them to the bucket. I added about 3 cups of sugar and 2 gallons of vodka. I then sprinkled on about 4 oz of lavender. After 2 weeks, the lavender flavor was strong, but not too much. I strained it and added some more lemons and a vanilla bean, which I cut in 1/2 lengthwise.
This one is soooooo good. Bear loves it too. It’s fresh and crisp from the lemon but with a strong lavender scent. The vanilla kind of mellows everything. And the color is the most beautiful amber. The flavor, scent, and color are all wonderful.
We still haven’t given any of these away, but I’ll report back once we find out what people think.
Overall, our Yule was good. We had a low-key day, as we all had the day off. So we watched some movies, ate lasagne, and Bear and I had a new friend over. Remember when I decided to stop playing with boys (and girly boys, and girls who were born boys) a few months ago? Yeah, me too. That never works. We met someone fabulous, and she came over to hang out with us for Yule. It was lovely. 🙂
I learned about two great things this Yule, however. The Julbock is a Scandinavian tradition that is RIGHT up my alley. There’s some speculation that the Julbock (Yule goat) was tied to Thor’s goats, Teeth Barer, and Teeth Grinder. More recently, however, the Julbock has been transformed into a Santa Claus figure, delivering presents, and sometimes Santa Claus is even portrayed as riding a goat to deliver presents in Scandinavian countries.
The Julbock shows up in homes now as a goat made of straw used to symbolize Christmas. Here’s another lovely blog about the Julbock.
The other new thing I learned about is the Icelandic Yule Lads.
Stekkjastaur- Sheep-Cote Clod
Giljaguar- Gully Gawk
Pvorusleikir- Spoon Licker
Pottaskefill- Pot Scraper
Askasleikir- Bowl Licker
Hurdaskellir- Door Slammer
Skyrgamur- Skyr Gobbler
Bjugnakraekir- Sausage Swiper
Gluggagaegir- Window Peeper
Gattapefur- Doorway Sniffer
Ketkrokur- Meat Hook
Kertasnikir- Candle Sniffer
They do various mischevious things, usually stealing food or harassing goats (nasty buggers). They’re fun, though, and a different one comes to town each of the 13 nights before Xmas. Tonight, for example, is the day of Gattapefur (Doorway Sniffer). According to Wikipedia, he “Has an abnormally large nose and an acute sense of smell which he uses to locate laufabrauð.”
I’ve also been trying to put together a good playlist of Norse-inspired pagan Yule carols, but no such luck. At some point over the next week or so, I’ll publish what I have found as a playlist.