Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Getting ready for Christmas: The beverages are under control

. . . which is good because nothing else is. So today, in the name of effectively managing pre-holiday panic, I decided I should conquer a single to-do item in its entirety. So I bought

1. Juice Squeeze for kids (we're a non-soda house, but this is mostly fruit juice and ok by me for a holiday indulgence).

2. Kir royal makings: Framboise (I want a more crimson color than the usual cassis) and a nice organic French sparkling wine, recommended by the experts at Monterey Liquors.

3. San Pellegrino. Because all conscientious hosts provide a nonalcoholic option, even if guests never drink it.

4. Rum for hot buttered rum.

I hate rum but was happy to offer Big S. his first hot buttered rum of the season. Here's what I do:


In my KitchenAid counter top mixer, I combine

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 Tbl. cinnamon
1 Tbl. nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1 tsp ground clove
1 tsp. ground ginger
A jar of this lives in my fridge this time of year. Refrigerated, it should last forever. But I'm not sure of this because it never does. When someone calls for a drink I do this:
Plop a few tablespoons of the mixture into a mug.

Fill the mug half way with boiling water. Stir until mixture dissolves.

Fill the mug the rest of the way with rum.

Garnish with a cinnamon stick and an orange peel.
And speaking of orange peel, this evening I also made this:


I always make this infused wine this time of year, when I can buy good organic oranges at a reasonable price.

Here's the recipe. I multiply by eight.
dried orange peels of 6 small or 4 large naval oranges
1 fifth dry red wine (e.g., zinfandel)
3/4 cups sugar
1 vanilla bean
1/2 cup vodka
Heat the oven to 300 degrees.

Spread orange peels on a baking sheet and place in preheated oven, turning from time to time until the inner white part of the peel is golden and the outer part is a dark orange--about 45 minutes.

Combine wine, sugar, vodka, and orange peels in a glass container. I use a large aqua fresca jar that I bought at Smart and Final.

Cover and store in in a cool, dark place for several months. Strain and decant into sterilized bottles. The infused wine will keep for at least a year and is a wonderful aperitif.

I'll probably bottle mine in a few months. I usually serve this as a dessert wine, like port. It is sweet but not overly so, and the orange is more a scent than a taste. It's truly delicious and a wonderful reminder of seasons past.

So I'm feeling pretty ready for the holidays. Bring 'em on!!

1 comment:

Libby said...

Oh, the orange infused wine looks beautiful!