November 3, 2017
I’ll admit, I never actually had an Aunt Betsy – but I did have a great pal named Betsy at one point, and when drinking this (even though we weren’t even related) I tend to think about her. It’s a drink to sip slowly, while you’re thinking of your Aunt Betsy, or another aunt, or another Betsy, or just a great pal, because it’s served hot, which also means it’s ideal for months like November, due to (in my Pacific Northwest neck of the woods, at least) the chiller temperature. And it has a warming depth, as well, with a trio of red wine, brandy, and port – a trio that sings to November days. So, heat one up, and toast all the aunts and Betsy’s and hot drinks and cold days, which never last forever.
Aunt Betsy’s Favorite, from Dark Spirits
24 ounces red wine (I suggest a Cabernet Sauvignon)
16 ounces tawny port
8 ounces brandy
4 ounces simple syrup
1 orange peel
3 whole cloves
1 stick cinnamon
1. Add all of the ingredients to a medium-size saucepan. Cook on medium heat, stirring regularly, for 10 minutes. You want it to get good and hot, but not start boiling, or even simmering. Reduce the heat midway through the cooking time if needed.
2. Once the 10 minutes have passed and the room smells wonderful, ladle the mix into heavy mugs. Avoid serving the orange peel, cloves, and cinnamon stick if your pals are worried about clunking up their smiles.
PS: I adapted this from the House & Garden’s Drink Guide. Which means this drink is also ideal for houses and gardens, I suppose.
November 28, 2014
Way, way back when, (in the double digits AD), Pliny the Elder wrote the Naturalis Historia, and in that wrote about peppermint, and how it was not only used in sauces and drinks, but only in sweet-scented sprays and worn about the head. I like that! I wanna wear peppermint like a hat. Can I do that? Anyway, with all that connection between good ol’ Pliny and peppermint, I don’t believe anyone has every named a peppermint-y drink for Pliny. Please correct me if I’m wrong here, and you have, actually, come up with said drink. Hopefully this is different than yours if that’s the case. I used peppermint tea for my peppermint-y-ness, and to go along with all the Ps, I used Plantation’s Original Dark rum. No, no, I used this rum from Trinidad & Tobago because its hints of smoke, citrus, banana, and spice mingle smoothly with the tea. And then I used Averna amaro for no other reason than I thought it would taste good. Guess what? I was right! This is a swell drink for the winter months – keep warm out there.
Pliny’s Hand Warmer
1-1/2 ounce Plantation Original Dark rum
1 ounce Averna amaro
5 ounces hot peppermint tea
Wide orange twist, for garnish
1. Add the rum and the Averna to a mug that’s been warmed with hot water. Stir briefly.
2. Add the tea, stir again, and warm up. Garnish with the orange twist.
A Note: If you feel this needs an extra garnish, and have fresh peppermint available, well, you know what to do.
November 16, 2012
Tequila is sometimes given the seasonal shaft. Folks can tend to think of it (except those true tequila fanatics I suppose) only in the hotter months, and only in chilly Margaritas and the occasional other cold number. This means from, oh, October through late February in many areas tequila just doesn’t come to mind for cocktail and drink lovers. I myself may have fallen into this tequila trap a time or two. However, the other night I found myself both craving tequila and freezing (freezing in Seattle means the temperature is down to the mid-30s. Yeah, we’re wimps). “So,” I thought to myself, “what can I do to remedy the situation?” And what I did was come up with the below drink, which I’m calling the Saguaro Steamer:
The funny (both sad funny and just funny) part of it all is that tequila goes smashingly in a hot drink. Thinking about it, it just makes wonderful sense. Tequila tends to be smoky and the flavors mingle well with the steam and hot water. Amazingly well, really. But a little balance and tang and sweet were needed, and that’s where the other ingredients came into play. To add even more flavor and take the edges off, I used the new-ish Mariposa agave nectar liqueur, which mingles agave nectar and 100-percent agave tequila and premium vodka, and which has a floral smoky loveliness going on. Then I added some orange juice (another hot drink casualty that’s surprisingly good here) and topped it all off with the top hot drink topping, nutmeg. I strongly suggest this combo if you want to update your hot drink repertoire and give tequila its due year round.
The Saguaro Steamer
2 ounces Reposado tequila (I used Casa Noble and it was awesome. As it always is)
3/4 ounces Mariposa agave nectar liqueur
3/4 ounces freshly squeezed orange juice
3 ounces pretty hot water (not boiling, but close)
Freshly grated nutmeg
1. Add the tequila, Mariposa, and orange juice to a double-walled Bodum glass or other heat-okay receptacle. Stir.
2. Carefully add the hot water to the mix. Stir again, carefully but thoroughly.
3. Grate a little nutmeg on the top. Make that “ahhh” sound you make when it’s cold out and you’ve just had something deliciously warm.
January 14, 2009
I wish I had a little sound file of me singing “baby it’s cold outside,” because I can’t think it without singing it, and since you’re here now, too, reading this, you should be able to hear what I hear–right? Or is that too meta-something-or-other? And speaking of somethings-or-others, I just learned when looking up “baby it’s cold outside” that in the classic version of the song, “the female voice in the song is called ‘The Mouse’ and the male ‘The Wolf.’” There’s something probably chauvinistic in that, but I like it anyway. Now, where was I? Oh yes, Ed Skoog. He came up with the following recipe for the Drowsy Chaperone, cause he’s so cuddly that when the lights are dim and he’s serving up a warm-but-brandy’d drink in front of the fire he likes the guardian keeping him and his lady love from getting to, shall we say, “amorous town,” he likes that guardian to dodder off into sleepy land. It has nothing to do with the musical comedy of the same name. But all to do with sidling up to that special someone with a toasty liquid treat in a snifter when the wind’s whipping along outside your door.
1 1/2 ounces brandy
1/2 ounce crème de peche
3/4 ounce Cointreau
1. Add the buttermint to a snifter, and then top it with the brandy and crème de peche.
2. Put the Cointreau in a mug and heat it in the microwave for about 15 seconds. It should be hot but not boiling.
3. Carefully pour the Cointreau into the glass–isn’t it pretty and steamy and warming and lovely?