Often you’ll find bartenders creating inspired cocktails – using seasonal ingredients, herbs from the garden, and from-scratch syrups that range from the simple sugar to berry purees – usually a nice complement to the restaurant’s menu offerings.
While this isn’t a post to encourage drinking, it is one to think about flavors we associate with the region and the season – like cider, maple, cinnamon, nutmeg – in the form of beverages, non-alcoholic and hi-test, warmed or refreshingly cold.
A raised glass to all Adirondack Almanack readers and safe travels – and many thanks to our designated drivers!
Warming Adirondack Wassail
This is as easy to make for a crowd, as it is for a single serving, and great after a day outdoors enjoying some winter hiking or skiing. Omit rum for a non-alcoholic version.
1 ounce rum
4-5 ounces apple cider
slice lemon and orange
Place ingredients in a sauce pan and warm over medium heat for approximately 7- 10 minutes; lower heat and simmer for an additional10 minutes. Strain cloves from liquid and serve in a ceramic or heavy glass mug with stick of cinnamon and a few whole (raw) cranberries (optional).
This is a recipe adapted from one I learned while I worked for the caterer, Glorious Food in New York – a great holiday treat and so filling it’s almost a meal in a glass. If you’re an eggnog fan, it’s perfect for toasting the New Year and reflecting on our many resolutions.
10 farm-fresh eggs, separated
1 cup super-fine sugar
1 cup Bourbon
1 cup Brandy (or add another cup of Bourbon)
1 quart heavy cream
2 cups half-and-half
Freshly grated nutmeg
Freshly grated cinnamon
Beat egg yolks and sugar until thick and fully blended (save egg whites for another use – maybe a souffle). Slowly add Bourbon and Brandy to egg and sugar mixture and stir well. Refrigerate until chilled (will usually need a couple of hours).
Just prior to serving, beat heavy cream until quite stiff; fold into above mixture. Stir in half and half and mix well.
Ladle into wine or champagne glasses and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg and/or cinnamon.
Approximately 12 servings.
Photo: A pot of Wassail (Courtesy Wikipedia).
Annette Nielsen is a food writer, editor, community organizer and activist on behalf of regional agriculture. She recently edited Northern Comfort and Northern Bounty, two seasonally-based cookbooks for Adirondack Life Magazine. A native of Northville, she lives in Salem, New York with her husband and son.