So raisins soaked in liquer and the 12 strokes of Big Ben to welcome in the New Year. Anyone game for a giggle? To be more sensible about it, mi familia Espanol, celebrate the New Year with a really sweet tradition - 12 uvas de la suerte (grapes of luck). You eat a grape for each chime of the clock as it strikes midnight to welcome the New Year. If successful at eating the grapes and not giggling, choking* or just plain failing to chew and swallow quickly enough, you can make a wish. The larger the grape the harder it is to do, so be smart and buy small grapes, and buy them in advance if your in Spain.
In my family they sometimes substitute the grapes for raisins that have been soaked in an anise liqueur. These are a traditional Christmas treat which are lovely, trying to eat 12 in a row will both take your breath away and possibly make you tipsy. My Grandfather used to walk out the back door with a lump of coal and in the front, something to do with having enough resources to be comfortable in the year ahead. Food and booze sound the tastier, not to mention warmer option.
When ready the raisins plump up with the liqueur and you have a lovely firm, sweet, yet at the same time almost liquorice liqueur hit that 'pops' in your mouth almost like the original grape. Eaten with a cocktail stick one at a time these are a great conversation piece at a dinner parties, or unusual canapé, and great hamper addition. ¡Feliz Año Nuevo!
1 x bottle of Sambucca or other anise liqueur
400g of the largest seedless raisins you can find
2 x empty sterilised jam jars
At least 8 weeks before you need them, although mi Suegra (mother-in-law) claims 6 months is optimal.
Fill the jam jars 2/3s full with raisins.
Add enough liqueur to cover them.
Pop into a cupboard (or hide, if like me they are a surprise for your hubby)
Give a shake every now and again.
Remember where you put them in time for Christmas and New Year.
*Plase do NOT choke on the raisins, or in case of stupidity have someone near by to hit you firmly on the back between the shoulder blades to dislodge the object and dial 999. Adult supervision required. Grin.