It’s the last column of the year. I could direct you to events happening, but most are buffets and New Year’s Eve dinners, which we’ve got covered in our Event Horizon. I could direct you to restaurants to go and eat at, but we’ve got that sorted out with Chowtown. I could just give you another section of rambling thoughts, but I think I’ve done far too much of that already. So instead, I figured I’d reward you with a couple of treats. It’s no secret that I’m a bit of a fan of two things: sweets and alcohol. My health has never been better. Thankfully, the holidays allow us to have the two meet in perfect harmony, with a breadth of seasonal ingredients that just naturally mesh together well. Included this week is a new take on eggnog (with a short history lesson to boot) and a mulled cider recipe. The year is almost over, so why not drink and make merry?
Use Your Noggin
It can be easy to forget that the South, especially Georgia, has an abundance of peaches. What is one to do with all of them if they don’t sell? Well, make alcohol of course. With the natural sugars of a peach being perfect for it, distillers found peach brandy to be easy, delicious and really cost effective. It’s a wonder we don’t see it used more often, as it’s a delightful spirit with delicate flavor, but maybe it’s because we’re afraid to experiment and try new things. For example, I was offered an eggnog with peach brandy this weekend, and found it to be my new favorite holiday drink. The creamy smoothness of eggnog mixed with the succulent peach flavor, as well as a splash of nutmeg and cinnamon, allowed all pieces to work in a delicate harmony that would assuredly get me in trouble if it existed in mass quantities at a company party. Peach brandy and eggnog both can be grabbed relatively inexpensively, and it’s an extra little twist that adds the real joy to it that you don’t normally see in a spiked eggnog. Give it a shot, I promise you, it’ll be the hit drink of any party you throw.
To Mull It Over
Do you have a pot suitable for a large amount of liquid? Do you love a nice hot drink on a cold winter evening? How do you feel about your kitchen smelling heavenly for a whole day? I’ve got a crazy surprise for you. Mulled cider is relatively easy to pull off, using simple ingredients and a short prep time (though if you go longer, you get more flavor from the ingredients at the expense of less alcoholic content.) A good rule of thumb is twos, according to a friend. If you have two quarts of apple cider, just toss in two sticks of cinnamon, two whole cloves, two sliced oranges (if it’s a really big one, you can get away with one, but use your best judgment) and two allspice berries. Let that simmer long enough to absorb the good flavors of everything you tossed in, and then ladle it into a cup and you’re good to go. It’s quick and simple, and will always be a crowd pleaser. Or just make it for yourself and cancel all plans for the evening. No one will judge you.