Mom’s potent Christmas cake

2011-12-10 18:26

Three South Africans try to imagine a festive season without alcohol.

Johannesburg events co-ordinator for ­Barcode – a bespoke bar services – Gareth Wainright (29), has been working with ­alcohol most of his life.

“People think when you are surrounded by booze you get drunk all the time,” ­Wainright said this week while setting up the South African Airways year-end function in Kempton Park, on the East Rand.

But in his case, it couldn’t be further from the truth.

“We actually drink very seldom. And I never drink alone at home,” he says.

Being exposed to alcohol on an ongoing basis has made Wainright more of a ­connoisseur.

“Drinking is a luxury for me and my ­family. Rather than buying five cases of cheap alcohol – which is mass produced and unhealthy – I buy a great bottle of wine or beer,” he says.

Christmas Day at the Wainrights is a ­family affair, with a large turkey and a ­bottle of good bubbly for toasts.

“It is one day of the year we try to keep things civil,” Wainright laughs, adding that not having alcohol at Christmas would not be a party-killer.

But there is one thing he says the family might not be able to do without: his mother’s Christmas cake that has “fermented for seven, eight months” by December.

“You don’t smoke or make a braai next to it, it is so potent,” Wainright says, explaining the thickness of the alcohol-soaked cake with his fingers.

As a mixologist – someone who makes coctails – Wainright has catered for many alcohol-free functions.

“It is a bit of a downer for people. If you have an alcohol-free function, your staff might stay for the formalities and the food, but soon afterwards they leave to continue the party at a bar.

“People will always find a way to have liquor. Even the most conservative people find an alcohol-free party boring,” he says.

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