If there’s anything I dread more than January’s arrival – its short, gloomy days; its long, cold nights; the lingering post-party malaise – it’s the annual Dry January discourse that accompanies it.
No matter whether you choose to forsake all alcohol for 31 days or plan a wet Tryanuary to remember, you are still likely to be met with the admonitions of reproving strangers. Me, I like to sit on the sidelines. If I have any stance, it is that whether or not you choose to drink this month, you should still treat yourself to special, delicious things in order to get through the winter doldrums, especially in these continuing Covid times.
The good news is that – whether you’re drying out or seeking out novelty – Gipsy Hill’s Squashed Peach Bellini Alcohol-Free Sour is one you can add to your list this month. Among the growing number of low- and no-ABV beers on the market, it is among the best I’ve tried: It pours opaquely hazy and peachy gold, with stone fruit notes that make my salivary glands start to prickle as soon as I stick my nose in the glass. It’s made with 200g of fruit per litre, adding up to some 20% of the can, and that’s evident in its full body, in its dance between sweetness and tartness, complemented by a biscuity finish. If you didn’t tell me it was alcohol-free, I probably wouldn’t have known.
The bellini is a brunch cocktail and likewise this beer is the perfect way to greet a weekend morning, with a fancy but low-effort breakfast on the side (after a nice long lie-in). Enter these lemon and almond waffles, served with a dollop of cardamom maple whipped cream and spoonfuls of apricot jam. They are not so sweet that they overwhelm the beer, but their spicing and lemony freshness takes them a step beyond typical brunch fodder.
So keep those pyjamas on for another few hours, stay in bed as long as you’d like and greet the day with a heaping platter of waffles and a sour peach beer on the side. For our aim, it doesn’t matter whether or not that beer is alcoholic – it only matters that it’s good.
Lemon and Almond Waffles with Cardamom Maple Whipped Cream
Makes approximately 16 waffles
For the waffles:
240 grams all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons caster sugar
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
250ml whole milk
125g Greek yoghurt
3 large eggs, separated
100g unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 lemons apricot jam (to serve)
For the whipped cream:
125ml double cream
2-3 tablespoons maple syrup
1-2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1. First, make the waffle batter. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and sea salt, and whisk briefly to mix.
2. Create a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add the milk, yoghurt, egg yolks, melted butter, vanilla paste, almond extract and the zest of two lemons, plus 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Whisk or stir until just combined and there are no big lumps left, but do not overmix.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a medium bowl if using a hand mixer, add the egg whites. Beat on high for 4-5 minutes, or until they’ve just started forming stiff peaks. Using a spatula, transfer the egg whites to the batter and gently fold through until incorporated, again taking care not to mix too aggressively.
4. Preheat your waffle maker and brush lightly with oil or melted butter if needed. Once hot, scoop in the amount of batter as recommended by the manufacturer (I used roughly a ½-cup measure for two waffles) and cook according to the waffle-maker instructions. Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with baking paper or foil and turn the oven to its lowest setting. Once the waffles are cooked, transfer to the baking sheet and place in the oven to keep warm while you make the remaining waffles.
5. As the waffles cook, prepare your whipped cream: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a medium bowl if using a hand mixer, add the cream and beat on high for 4-5 minutes, or until stiff peaks are starting to form. Drizzle in the maple syrup and beat through; do the same with the cardamom. Add more of either ingredient to taste.
6. To serve the waffles, divide between plates and top with the whipped cream. Depending on your preferences, you can also drizzle over some additional maple syrup, and/or top with apricot jam. Serve while still hot.
Claire M. Bullen is a professional food and travel writer, a beer hound and all-around lover of tasty things. You can follow her at @clairembullen. For more recipes like this, sign up to our HB&B All Killer No Filler beer subscription - you'll receive Claire's recipe and food pairings, plus beer reviews and expert tasting notes with up to 12 world-class beers - like this one - every month.