Happy Holidays? What about Happy Winter Solstice? Regardless of your religion we can all, at least, agree on the science, right? Well, maybe not. But unlike the equinoxes, where the day is broken – more or less – into two equal parts of day and night, the solstices are the longest day (in Summer) or the shortest day (in Winter) of the year. Thankfully the colder solstice is the shorter one. And has it ever been cold this year.
We’ve all heard the term fortifying spirits before. And alcohol does give the illusion of taking the chill off. Science tells us that this is because alcohol causes the blood vessels below the surface of the skin to dilate, causing more blood, and therefore more heat, to flow into them. You aren’t actually warmer, because the blood is coming from other parts of the body, specifically your core, but you feel warmer. At least for a little while. Or so the science tells us, and if you aren’t really “into science” you probably tuned out after the second sentence.
We know that drinks like the Flip (a warmed eggnog) and the hot buttered rum have been around for a long time. The original “Martha,” Ms. Martha Washington, included recipes for both drinks in a cookbook gifted to her granddaughter, Eleanor Parke Custis, way back in 1799. Liability issues seemed less daunting back then, because a common way to heat both of these beverages was to use a red hot poker from your hearth fire to boil the drinks in your own personal cup. The poker, called a loggerhead (or flip iron), probably gave rise to the colloquial expression “at loggerheads” or “in dispute.” One can only imagine the trouble one could get into in a tavern with a solid metal rod heated up to the point of white hotness. Perhaps that is why eggnog is now traditionally served cold? Seems logical.
However we arrive at our hot drinks, by sheer inventiveness or by simply converting cold drinks to hot ones, a warm drink is sure to be appreciated on this, the very first day of winter. To this end we have taken the liberty of reimagining some old classics, localized them as best we can, and have safely removed the red hot poker from the equation (on the advice of both our insurance adjuster, and our attorney).
Have a safe and happy holiday season. Or just enjoy the solstice.
Hot New Thing
2 ounces Blackened whiskey, a blend of straight whiskeys
1 dash Angostura orange bitters
1 dash King Floyd’s cardamom bitters
¼ ounce maple syrup
3 ounces hot water
1 orange zest
1 lemon zest
Combine first five ingredients in a pre-warmed heat tempered glass, stir to combine, and garnish with both zests.
Note: a “blend of straight whiskeys” is a different category and a different product than “blended whiskey.” Blended whiskey can have neutral grain spirits added, whereas a blend of straight whiskeys cannot.
Hot Buttered Rhum
2 ounces Batiste “Gold” rhum
3 ounces hot water
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon semi soft unsalted butter
Ground macadamia nuts
Combine first four ingredients in a pre-warmed heat tempered glass, stir until sugar dissolves. Place butter on top and dust with spices.
Note: There is dark rum and there is aged rum. Dark rum has caramel or molasses added after it’s manufacture and aged rum does not (although there are some dark aged rums). We make our own aged rhum “dark” here by adding the brown sugar (a combination of sugar and molasses) ourselves.
1 ½ ounces Hanson Organic Habanero vodka
8 ounces boiling hot water
1 package Bare Bones beef bone broth instant beverage mix
1 dash Worcestershire sauce
1 dash Hoisin sauce
1 star anise
1 lemon wheel
Combine first five ingredients in a pre-warmed large coffee mug and stir to combine. Float lemon and star anise on top, and then grind black pepper over top for garnish.
Note: this drink is often called a hot cousin of the Bloody Mary. If such a thing can be said.
Warm Winter S’Nog
1 ½ ounces dark rum (Myers, Goslings, Lamb’s)
6 ounces whole milk (or milk substitute)
1 teaspoon Guittard’s` “Grand Cacao” drinking chocolate (reserving a pinch for garnish)
1 ½ ounces advocaat
6 mini marshmallows
Combine first three ingredients in a saucepan and warm until chocolate is fully dissolved. Pour into a pre-warmed mug, add advocaat, stir, and garnish with marshmallows before dusting with reserved chocolate.
Note: eggnog is an acquired taste. Or more like an acquired texture. Warmed eggnog needs even more acquiescence. By using advocaat (a Dutch custard liqueur) you not only get all the taste but also soften the learning curve considerably. Oddly, advocaat is based on an older South American drink originally made with avocado, hence the name. Odder still, the word avocado, itself, is based on the Nahuatl Indigenous word for testicle.