Holiday Cheers!

By which, we mean of course, something with a wee dram of high octane cheer therein!

The holidays are a time for food, drink and merrymaking. When it comes to the drink part, we believe strongly that something special is warranted. We pull out the stops for meals, so why not do the same for the drinks? Light beer and box wine can wait ‘till after the new year…

Here are some holiday faves, sans commercial pre-packaged, preservative laden ingredient – Nothing says love so much as homemade, right?

Prosecco per le vacanze!
Our personal contribution to the holiday drink pantheon. Use a nice, dry Prosecco to allow the pear to really pop as a counterpoint.

Nice, dry Prosecco of your choice
2 Tablespoons turbinado sugar
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 firm, ripe Bosc pear

Blend sugar with nutmeg.
Core pear and slice into ½” thick sections.
Lightly moisten the top of a champagne flute, then dip and coat the rim with the sugar blend.
Fill with Proseco, notch pear slice so it can slide onto the rim.

Real Eggnog
Arguably the quintessential holiday beverage. We recommend a good, dark rum like Mount Gay or Myers. Makes enough for 6 servings

2 Cups whole Milk
2 Cups ½ & ½
6 Egg Yolks
1 ½ cups Dark Rum
3 whole Cloves
1 ½ teaspoon Vanilla
¾ Cup granulated Sugar
½ teaspoon Cinnamon
¼ teaspoon Nutmeg

In a sauce pan over low heat, combine milk, ¾ teaspoon vanilla, cloves and cinnamon. Stir regularly and slowly heat to scalding. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine eggs and sugar and whisk by hand until fully incorporated and aerated.

Slowly add the sugar/egg blend to the hot milk mixture in the saucepan. Bring heat to medium and stir constantly until the mix begins to thicken. Don’t let the blend boil, or you’ll end up with a very unappealing custard-like substance…

Strain the mix through a sieve into a glass or stainless bowl and refrigerated, covered for at least an hour.

Remove from fridge, add the rest of the vanilla and the nutmeg and whisk. Add cream, then the rum and whisk thoroughly. Re-cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, (You can keep it overnight as well.) Stir well prior to serving.

Genuine Hot Buttered Rum
My pop used to make this when I had a nasty cough; just one of the many reasons I love that guy… Use the best quality ice cream you can for a truly rich, creamy treat, and again here, use good, dark Rum. Super easy and makes enough for 4 to 6.

For the Batter:
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
1 Cup Unsalted Butter
2 Cups Vanilla Ice Cream

In a sauce pan over low heat, melt butter completely; add the sugars and allow to heat through thoroughly, about 4 or 5 minutes.

Place ice cream in a mixing bowl and add the butter/sugar mixture. Whisk by hand until thoroughly incorporated, about 2 or 3 minutes.

Transfer batter to a glass container and refrigerate for at least 4 hours prior to serving. Batter will be fine for at least a week and up to 30 days if frozen.

For each drink, scoop 2 to 3 tablespoons of batter into a mug. Add 1 ½ ounces of dark rum and fill with boiling water. Add a dash of nutmeg to the top and enjoy!

Hot Spiced Wine
This is an age-old treat for a nasty, cold day, indeed! Super fast to prep and serves 4 to 6. The variable ingredients are for your taste; add as you like and see fit. A nice day-to-day Cabernet, Old Vine Zinfandel, or Burgundy works well for this and, as always, if you wish for good results, don’t use any wine you wouldn’t happily drink unadorned…

1 Bottle decent, hearty Red Wine
1 Orange
¼ to ½ Lemon
1 teaspoon fresh Ginger Root
¼ to ½ Cup Agave Nectar or Honey
2 – 3 sticks whole Cinnamon
6 – 8 Whole Cloves

Peel orange and lemon, slice peels into 1” strips and reserve.

In a stock pot over medium-low heat, add the wine and heat through, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the Agave or honey and stir until dissolved.

Squeeze fruit into wine and add the pulp and peels.

Grate ginger and add to pot.

Toss in cinnamon sticks and cloves, cover and bring mixture to a simmer and reduce heat. Simmer on low for 20 minutes.

Strain blend through a sieve, and serve hot!

Mulled Cider
Nothing makes a house smell better or more like the holidays than this traditional favorite. Find fresh, local unfiltered cider whenever possible! Serves 6 or so.

½ Gallon Apple Cider
1 medium Orange
¼ t o ½ ea. fresh Lemon and Lime
2 Tablespoons Agave Nectar or Honey
6 – 8 Whole Cloves
2 – 3 sticks Cinnamon
4 – 6 Tasmanian Pepperberries, (Or Allspice berries)
2 – 3 whole Juniper Berries
1 teaspoon Nutmeg

In a stock pot over medium heat, add cider and allow to heat through, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Peel orange, lemon and lime, slice peels into 1” strips and reserve.

Add the Agave or honey to the heated cider and stir until dissolved.

Squeeze fruit into cider and add the pulp and peels.

Add remaining ingredients to the pot; bring cider to a simmer, cover and reduce heat to low. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes.

Strain cider through a sieve and serve piping hot.

From all of us at UrbanMonique, we wish you safe and peaceful Holidays!

Author: urbanmonique

I cook, write, throw flies, and play music in the Great Pacific Northwet.

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