Amanda and I have had a cold all week, complete with a runny nose, sore throat, and cough. We got sick of NyQuil’s taste, but still wanted something to soothe our throats and knock us out before bed. Hot Toddys were just the thing we wanted in this cold weather.
I use whatever whiskey I have on hand. This week we used up a bunch of different types of bourbon and rye that just had a few ounces left in each bottle. You can probably use brandy or rum if you have some you are itching to use up. Hot Toddys are a great way to clean out your liquor cabinet.
- 2 oz Whiskey
- 3/4 oz Honey (we get our honey locally, which helps us deal with local allergens)
- 3/4 oz Lemon Juice
- 1/2 oz Allspice Dram
- 6 oz Boiling Water
Stir whiskey, honey, lemon juice, and allspice dram in a mug and top with boiling water. Garnish with a lemon peel. You can forgo the allspice dram if you don’t have any on hand. Cinnamon sticks make a nice substitute.
If your holiday festivities include alcohol, consider putting a lighter drink in the rotation to refresh your palate from all the heavy bourbon, egg nog, and dark rum drinks.
I suggest a variation on the Sidecar made with Calvados, a French apple brandy made up in Normandy with the same care as their southern neighbors make cognac. The sweet calvados and Cointreau mixed with the tart citrus bite of the lemon juice make the Calvados Sidecar a lively cocktail that will lighten your holiday spirits.
Save this recipe card to your iPhone and import them into the free Highball app.
Head over to the best liquor store in your area and find a decent bottle of Calvados and pick up a few lemons and oranges at the grocery store. I’m sure you still have a bottle of Cointreau on your shelf left over from this summer.
We’re working our way through a bottle of Pays d’Auge Réserve from Domaine de Montreuil. It is lighter in color than most other brands, but features nice apple, honey, and wood flavors.
Calvados is also a good sipper. Treat it like brandy and serve it in a snifter.
If sweet vermouth is your thing, stir equal parts calvados and sweet vermouth with ice and strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon peel. That is called a Bentley. (Optionally add 2 dashes of bitters, I prefer orange.)
Calvados Sidecar Recipe
- 1 oz Calvados
- 1 oz Cointreau
- 1 oz fresh lemon juice
Add all ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a coupe and garnish with an orange peel.
Granitas are a perfect way to use up ripe, in-season fruit and make a refreshing dessert.
I bought a golden honeydew at the grocery store, but didn’t get around to cutting it up and eating it until it was so ripe that it wouldn’t last long after being cut up. I settled on making a granita, an Italian ice-based flavored dessert that has varying consistencies across Italy.
I searched through David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop (one of the best frozen dessert recipe books out there) and came across this recipe for a melon granita. Perfect.
In general, granitas are made with fruit pureed with sugar and water. You can make one with nearly any fruit. Some people even make them from strong coffee and sugar. Use this recipe as a base and generalize.
- 1 melon (honeydew, cantaloupe, or golden honeydew will work)
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/4 cup water
- Pinch of salt
Cut the melon in half, remove the seeds, cut into slices, and remove the outer peel and rind. Put the melon and the rest of the ingredients in the blender until completely smooth.
Pour this mixture into a large, flat baking dish, or any large dish to maximize the surface area of the liquid, and put it in the freezer. (Make sure you have a flat space to set it!) After an hour, break up the large chunks of ice with a fork and mix it in, then put it back in the freezer. Start checking and breaking up the ice again every 30 minutes until you reach a consistency you like. If it freezes too hard, leave it out on the counter for a bit and mix it back up again.
Serve it in a glass or small bowl with whipped cream, or simply eat plain, as pictured above.
This was delicious and lasted us for a while. I’m going to experiment with more granitas in the future. Here are some ideas:
- Adding alcohol
- Watermelon and mint
- Campari and orange
- Champagne and some fruit (blackberries, raspberries, or, as David Lebovitz recommends, black currants?)