Mid-week Tipple: Lavender Lemonade with Hot Gin

photo courtesy Molly McDonald Peterson and Inspired Magazine

It’s National Hot Toddy Day, Boozers, and we just couldn’t resist. Even though this winter has been disappointingly mild, we never miss an opportunity to indulge in a bit of a toddy. It warms the spirits (yes, that’s a pun) as well as the body, and nothing could be more welcome on a gloomy day in January when the tree branches rattle against the telephone wires and even the dogs would rather curl up by the electric fire rather than hunt for errant squirrels.

We’ve offered several types of tasty toddies here on Good Booze, including the Hot Buttered Rum Toddy, the Epiphany, and even the chocolatey Tex-Mex Cocoa, which is perhaps not exactly a toddy, but will do in a pinch. Today we’re showcasing our Lavender Lemonade with Hot Gin, a toddy we recently developed for Inspired Magazine; we were inspired ourselves by none other than Bertie Wooster — that affable character created by author P.G. Wodehouse in his Jeeves and Wooster series. Bertie often calls out beseechingly to his unflappable manservant Jeeves for a “hot gin and lemon — go easy on the lemon” when he’s chilled from a long day out in the English countryside.

As we wrote in Inspired of this drink, “Nothing could be more civil than a proper hot drink by the fireplace when the wind is whipping across the meadows and a case of the sniffles is threatening tomorrow’s snowy hike around Willow Lake.” Quite.

Lavender Lemonade with Hot Gin

2 oz gin (we prefer Catoctin Creek Organic Watershed Gin)
¼ cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
3 Tbsp local honey (add more or less to taste)
½ cup water
lavender sprig, fresh or dried

To make the Lavender Lemonade: combine lemon juice, water, and honey in a small saucepan, stirring over low heat. Add one 3-inch lavender sprig and bring lemonade to a simmer. Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes, but do not bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Taste for sweetness/tartness and adjust to your preference. Remove lavender sprig before serving.

Pour 6 ounces of hot Honey-Lavender Lemonade into a large mug and add gin, stirring to combine. Garnish with lemon wheel (optional).

The Friday Tipple: An Epiphany

Christmas is over, Boozers. Yes, the twelve drummers played their last tune yesterday and those dried-out old trees have been booted to the curb by the purists who waited until Twelfth Night to strip them bare. It’s time for an Epiphany.

Many people think they’ve had an epiphany in the new year, but we think it’s really just a resolution in disguise. However, resolutions tend to get broken while epiphanies can actually stir action. Some epiphanies are sudden revelations, and others steal upon us softly, as if we are waking from a dream. This week’s Tipple is the latter kind — based on a traditional wassail popularized in the Middle Ages known as Lamb’s Wool — and garnished with a lemon “crown”, a nod to the gold paper crowns found on Epiphany cakes in France.

This warm little drink is spicy and not too sweet, with a citrus undertone, and we’re pretty sure that if you drink enough of it, in the company of good friends, you’ll have an epiphany. Cheers!

An Epiphany

For this winter warmer, we trotted out Leopold Bros. truly gorgeous New York Apple Whiskey, added in some Meyer lemons, left over from last week’s Tipple, and dusted off a bottle of Stone’s Ginger Wine, a fortified wine made with ginger and raisins popular in the UK. It’s not hard to find and is actually a nice addition to your cocktail cabinet to splash into a variety of tasty libations.

1.5 cups apple cider

1 cup hard apple cider (we like Crispin’s)

1/2 cup Stone’s Original Green Ginger Wine

1/2 cup Leopold Bros. Apple Whiskey (although another good whiskey will still do the trick)

1/2 lemon (a Meyer lemon is nice if you have it)

1/4 teaspoon each: ground cardamom, nutmeg, and allspice

In a two-quart saucepan, add the apple cider, Stone’s Ginger Wine, and the spices, then squeeze in the lemon and drop the lemon into the pot, stirring together until combined. Simmer over very low heat for 45 minutes. Then add the hard apple cider and simmer gently for about 10 minutes. Just before serving, stir in the whiskey. Pour into heat-safe glasses, garnish with a slice of lemon, and wait for your epiphany. Serves 4.