Cross posted from the Mixoloseum Blog.
Wassailing, now known mostly as that strange word in that one Christmas song, was once a holiday tradition so filled with mildly hidden threat, the Victorians banned the festivities. Laborers, ne’er do wells, and whoever else happened to be in the vicinity would drop by the boss’ or governor’s manse, wishing joy and peace in trade for a bit of tipple. Of course, in the lack of tipple, there could also be a lack of joy an peace, if you get my drift. A bit of the Trick or Treat, just more wintry. For more information on the history of the tradition, check out Stephen Nissenbaum’s The Battle for Christmas.
Of course, what could be a better pick me up during a night of drunken revelry on a winter night than a warm bath of mulled ale or cider, known then (as now) as Wassail.
In my research on this tasty winter beverage, I found two clearly distinct lines of Wassail. One, such as exampled in my copy of Joy of Cooking (1963), and another at Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s Wassail post. This Wassail omits the Ale or Cider, and instead hefts up the Brandy, and adds a whole lot of egg. This seems more in the tradition of an Egg Nog or Tom and Jerry, with a big foamy dope hefting the liquid about. I’ll admit to not having yet made it, as I’m far too fond of the more traditional method, which is that of a warm mulled ale or cider.
Here’s the recipe I used at a recent holiday feast. The original recipe comes from Stanley Clisby Arthur’s Famous New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix Em. For a bit of a traditional twi, I added hard cider, to apple things up a bit, and increased the proportions to satisfy all guests as well as fill the crockpot. It went over smashingly (by jove!), and I think you’ll like it too.
’tis the Season to have a crockpot, for sure.
- 3 Baked Apples
- 1/2 cup fine sugar
- 1 Tbsp ground Allspice
- 1 Tbsp whole Allspice Berries
- 1 lemon, juice and peel
- 1 Liter Hard Cider
- 1.5 Liter Brown or Winter Ale
- 1 pint warm sherry
Spiral slice the apples (or however you can maximize surface area), coat lightly in brown sugar, and bake at 350 for 45 minutes until browning begins. Place apples in a crockpot with all other ingredients, and set the crockpot to Hot for about 30 minutes. Leave the Crockpot on warm to serve. Serve in warmed punch mugs. Makes about 3.5 Quarts
This drink warms to the toes, and fills your brain with just enough bubbles to start tossing out the holiday cheer left and right. The first batch I’d tried, the apples weren’t imparting enough flavor for me, hence the addition of cider. The Cider used was Blackthorn (cheap and good!) and the beer was Pyramid’s Snowcap, a nice full-bodied, mildly spiced winter warmer.
Got your own holiday classic crockpot drink? Post your favorite in the comments!
Cross-posted from the Mixoloseum Blog, which you should damn well read some time.
I’m stuck up, fed up, and sick.
That sounds like the start of a great rant, but no, really, I’m sick. My head is stuffy, I’ve got a never ending headache, and an unfortunate tendency towards horrible whining. The good news of this is, however, that I’ve got a big bad stock of that good medicine we know as Kill Devil.
There are so many ways to chase away the nasties though, how best to reformulate the booze into something a bit more palatable than a straight shot? The first thing that came to my mind, and that comes to my mind just about every time more months start ending in “-ember”, is Hot Buttered Rum Batter. Now, last fall around this time, I had a post about making the stuff, and you’re damned right I’m getting to it… just as soon as I kick this damned thing.
Thankfully, a new batch of Harvey’s has hit the shelves here in the Pacific Northwest, allowing the sick and lazy too to enjoy in the goodness. So, taking a good dallop of Harvey’s Batter, some hot apple cider, and jigger full of medicine, I whipped up one of these. We’ll see tomorrow if this actually helps with my recovery, in the meanwhile, I seem to care quite a bit less about being sick!
Hot Buttered Rum and Cider
- 1 1/2 oz Ron Pampero Aniversario
- 1 Tablespoon Harvey’s Rum Batter
- 10 oz Apple Cider (non-alcoholic)
- Whole Spices
Heat glassware by filling with near-boiling water. Heat Apple Cider on the stove or in the microwave until near boiling. Empty glassware and add Rum Batter and 1/2 the glass full of hot apple cider. Stir until batter is dissolved. Add rum, and fill with hot apple cider. Top with cinnamon stick, whole allspice, a bit of star anise, cardamom pod, whatever suits your fancy.
I’ve been whipping these together for the wife and myself ever since I made the Hot Buttered Rum Batter. This is a delightful drink done simply, though there are a few tools I would recommend, if you’re into having lots of fun devices. The first being a nutmeg grinder. I’m sure you could get just a regular spice grinder, but a nice grinder like found in this nutmeg grinder post on Kitchen Contraptions is fun to have, stores your spares, and is fun to grind directly over the drink. I have a tendency to keep with Alton Brown in staying away from specialized equipment, but this looks elegant, and the smell of freshly ground nutmeg is just heavenly. The second device that comes highly recommended is a milk frother, again like the one in this frother post at Kitchen Contraptions. It’s unnecessary, and usually means you have to stop pouring well before the lip of the glass, but it adds a nice foamy texture to the top, and really helps stir up the mixture. If there’s anything that makes me weep, it’s the last remnants of a good hot buttered rum batter sitting at the bottom of the glass, so use one of these or stir like crazy!
Hot Buttered Rum Cow
- 1 tsp Hot Buttered Rum Batter (see the recipe here)
- 1.5 oz Gold Puerto Rican
- .5 oz Dark Jamaican Rum
- 6 oz. Whole Milk
Preheat mug by filling with warm water. Warm the milk on the stove (microwave if you’re impatient) until hot, but still drinkable. Toss the water in the mug and premix the rum and batter, then fill with milk and stir thoroughly. Serve with grated or grinded nutmeg on top.
Just to make it clear, use whole milk, none of the watered down stuff (which my father would so eloquently call lizard piss). Using the skim stuff is nowhere near the same. Regarding the rum, I’m going on Trader Vic’s Book of Food and Drink word with the combo here, but I’ve drifted from this to using a straight 2 ounces of Myers’s. I like the rich dark punch of molasses it gives to the drink, as well as most of the other drinks involving dairy. It’s not smooth like a gold or light, but it punches right through to make sure you know you’re drinking RUM.
Now, I’ve got to be honest with you, the picture in the post is not of the above recipe. The recipe above tends to be a bit whiter, and of course, with the frother, quite a bit frothier. The drink picture above is the same mix, but replacing the milk with egg nog. Honestly, this makes it a bit too much of a good thing, as the egg nog sits just fine on it own with no need for assistance from the batter. Still, it’s a nice way to pack on some pounds for the winter weather.
As the month of October beings to wane, and the weather grows cooler, the desire to build a hefty layer of fat and hibernate until spring grows ever stronger. And what better way to nurture this craving than with alcohol and dairy products!
Two products now appearing on shelves, at least in the local liquor stores, are Evan Williams Egg Nog, and Coronado Rompope.
Egg Nog has a long standing tradition as a fine holiday (or anytime) drink with uncertain origin. Certainly an old egg flip and egg nog have something in common, but the actual inspiration and name are unknown. I’d suppose the first chicken farmer with too much time and Brandy on their hands, but I’d prefer to let that dog lie, and enjoy what we have before us. The stores are just beginning to fill with Premium Egg Nogs from local dairies, but sadly bereft of the alcohol! Well, Evan Williams has corrected that oversight with their Original Southern Egg Nog. Unfortunately for those seeking more information, this product is not listed on the Evan Williams website, so my information has to come straight from the bottle. The liquor mixture is a bit different than what I’m used to in an Egg Nog, the usual for me being Brandy and Rum. Here, the producer has listed Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Blended Whiskey, Rum and Brandy. Strange, wouldn’t adding straight Bourbon to blended Bourbon just make blended Bourbon? I may need to call in the experts on that one. Either way, it’s a delicious product drunk straight, or as I prefer to use at, as a bit of tipple in my morning coffee. I usually prefer my egg nog hot, but this is recommended to be served chilled, with a garnish of nutmeg, cinnamon or mint. The flavor is very eggy with a rich texture, and at 19% alcohol, it’s got a little bite. The only thing missing is the bit of cinnamon or nutmeg, but that’s likely to allow the imbiber to spice as desired. It’s no homemade egg nog (a subject to be tackled later), but it’s ready to serve at a moment’s notice.
The next item spotted is the bottled version of a Mexican tradition, known as the Mexican Egg Nog, Rompope. Rompope is a traditional drink in Mexico, served on Holidays and other festivities. There are a few key differences to Rompope, in that it is traditionally rum based, and given vanilla flavoring. The flavor is definitely strong on the vanilla, with no spice to it, and at 10%, the alcohol offers no bite or kick, so it is nothing but rich smooth vanilla. This is still a relatively new discovery for me, so I’ll have to spend some more time with it, and I’ll certainly be trying my own batch this winter. The dairy produced here in Oregon is exceedingly spectacular, and I expect will serve very, very well.
I’ll have to finish these bottles soon and begin making my own version of these classics. May my KitchenAid last the season!
And so he goes on again about the dwindling daylight, the halcyon days of summer sunbeams fading like the dead leaves on the road…
No, I’m not doing that again. What do I like about the summer? Well, other than the brief relief from utter darkness, there’s not been much to it since summer meant no school, just that I’m still working like a schlub, but it’s hot. So I’ll skip the reminiscing for all of 5 minutes ago and get to the good stuff.
Winter drinks, the stuff that warms your insides like a hug from a loved one, and still manages like hell to keep the conversation flowing. The best thing to have on hand, come about this time, is a nice big batch of Hot Buttered Rum Batter. There are a few decent storebought varieties available. For one, you can get Trader Vic’s, but I haven’t been able to vouch for the stuff since a few years back. Ever since the debacle with the Passion Fruit Syrup, my look on their foods company hasn’t been the same. In the Northwest, there’s a fantastic brand called Harvey’s, that, inevitably will be shoveled into your mouth with a spoon, it’s just that good.
For me, it’s getting into the home grown territory. Why? More control over quality, the chance to make something my own, avoid some preservatives, and of course just being the bum that I am, I’m too impatient to wait for Harvey’s, and don’t want to go to the store for Vic’s anyhow. What else would I do with all the Brown Sugar and Butter sitting around the house, bake cookies?
Okay, I can make some fantastic cookies, but that’s beside the point. Good ingredients mixed with plenty of good time, gets you a good drink. Now, if you’ve read any of the bad bar tending bibles out there (and there are plenty), you might read a Hot Buttered Rum as Rum, Sugar, Water, and a pat of butter on top. I’ll just leave the quipping to Trader Vic, though.
It pains me to drink some of the concoctions offered in the name of hot buttered rum. I generally find little globules of fat floating around in a not too hot drink, served up in a dainty little glass cup that you can down in one swallow and damn near swallow the cup along with it.
As I have stressed all along, you can’t make anything good unless you take the time to do it properly. Mixing the batter for my hot buttered rum is the initial and final trouble and it will give you the finest drink you ever tasted.
-Trader Vic’s Book of Food and Drink, p. 116
So here’s the recipe, adjusted a bit from the book. If you’ve got a kitchenaid or other mixing device, use this, otherwise expect a fantastic forearm workout creaming the butter and sugar. Go ahead and make it in the early part of the month and store it in the fridge. It’s great for company, expected or otherwise, and always brings a smile.
Hot Buttered Rum Batter
- 1 pound brown sugar
- 1/4 pound butter (1 stick)
- pinch of salt
- Ground Spices (Cinnamon, nutmeg, clove)
Cream the sugar and butter together in a standing mixer until smooth. Mix in the spices and salt, and stir until spices are well distributed.
So, you’ve now got a little packet of joy in your fridge, so, what to do with it?
A few recipes are offered: Hot buttered Rum, Coffee Grog, Hot Buttered Rum Cow… I’ll go over these in time. Meanwhile, here’s my pick, the Northwest Passage.
- 1 heaping tsp Hot Buttered Rum Batter
- 1 oz. Demerara 151
- boiling water
- lemon rind
Put 1 heaping teaspoon of the batter in a 10 ounce goblet or pre-heated mug. Add the rum, stir until smooth, and add boiling water and lemon rind.
This is just the way to kick off an autumn evening at home, with the rich smoky (and high proof) demerara being accentuated with the lemon, the boiling water bringing the rum and citrus to the nose, the spices, the lemon, the butter adding a bit of thickness. This is just a damned fine concoction.
There’ll be more. Can’t walk away from tipping a Hot Buttered Rum Cow every so often.