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Friday, December 21, 2007

Oh, but it's cold outside!

It's officially the first day of winter, even though it's been both chilly and cheery around these parts lately. Today there was frost on the grass, and today is technically the shortest day of the year (yet, being the last work day before Christmas, feels like the longest day of the year).

Warm yourself up from the inside-out with some hot spiced wintery drinks! I've looked around the 'net and found some neat recipes, so check them out.

- Apple cider is a classic holiday drink around my house. We actually tend to serve it more on Halloween (it's cold trick-or-treating!), but I can't say no to hot apple cider. Greenjeans, a Brooklyn boutique, has been serving customers with mulled apple cider, and they're kind enough to share the recipe. That's a guaranteed way to get me into your store and buying something, I can tell you that. Traditionally my mom threw whole spices into the pot along with orange halves, but we've been using Williams Sonoma mulling spices recently. And, in an even more convenient format, Martinelli's makes mulling spice teabags.

- Hot chocolate is another classic winter drink. I've given up on coffee, so hot chocolate is a good way to have something warm and sweet and milky in the mornings, too. Chocolate is also a great cough suppressent, and drinking milk is good for sore throats, too. So it's good for you! There's a great round up of hot chocolate recipes at Slashfood.com, with some additional ideas in the comments as well. I do like the spiced hot chocolates, but only so much! I am not so gung-ho on my mouth getting burned, either temperature-wise or spice-wise. For some more information on chocolate, and some more hot chocolate recipes (including a Mayan hot chocolate that requires you to wear gloves while deseeding hot peppers!! and a whole vanilla bean, mmm), there's a really neat article on WhatsCookingAmerica.net. Hooray, learning something! And if you find yourself in the San Francisco Bay Area, stop by one of the Bittersweet Cafe locations for some delicious chocolate drinks both hot and cold.

- I have stopped drinking caffeine, which makes me sad because that means I have barely had any of one of my favorite drinks ever lately, which is chai. (Kati is also a fan of chai, except for when it attacks her pants or her cell phone.) I still drink lots of green tea, though. I think, however, that I might like to use some of the chai spices in apple cider to give it a bit more of an interesting flavor -- adding cardamom and ginger (and maybe some peppercorns) to the basic "cinnamon-cloves-nutmeg-citrus" of apple cider would make things a little more kicky. I found a huge variety of masala chai recipes at Veetea.com, including one for a chai milkshake. Ooooh! Maybe when it's warm again...

- Finally, the classic "hunker-down-and-drink" drink, the hot toddy. Leave it to my forefathers, the Scots, to perfect the "ach, it's cold and I am NOT going out!" drink. It's so simple -- honey, lemon, hot water, maybe a little spice... and some good whiskey. And so I found a recipe from ScottishRecipes.co.uk, which has the awesome phrase "a wee dram of whisky" in its grown-up toddy recipe. Excellent.

Snuggle up, everybody -- winter's only just begun.

image from martinellis.com

1 comment:

Karen said...

Boston-area chain tea shoppe/cafe Tealuxe makes a winter-only "chaider" that is the nectar of the gods. Pretty much as you described it, apple cider mulled with chai spices, and TOTALLY DELICIOUS. I highly recommend making some for yourself!

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