Good grief. It has already snowed in Wisconsin. Yes, I have lived here my entire life, but no- I won’t ever welcome the snow. I don’t ski, snowboard, snowshoe, sled, ice skate, or anything else wholesome and Nordic. I like to overdress for the cold, grumble, and hibernate. Here are a few of my favorite beverages that help me cope with the joys of living in the Midwest.
- Hot Buttered Rum. The first thing that you are greeted with at our annual family Christmas gathering is a soul-warming mug of booze. Many aMilwaukeeblizzard was made far more entertaining by the buffering comfort of a Hot Buttered Rum. A stick of un-salted butter, a cup of brown sugar, a pinch each of cinnamon, nutmeg, all-spice, and crushed cloves all mashed together are placed in the refrigerator to cool into a spoon-able texture. Find a generously sized coffee mug; add an ounce and a half of dark rum, a heaping teaspoon of the sugar and spice mixture and top with piping hot water. Stir and enjoy!
- Scotch. I love Scotch. One of my favorite wintertime sippers! I enjoy complex, layered, and viscous styles of Scotch such as any bottle that Balvenie has ever made (my heart really goes out to the 14 year Caribbean Cask Balvenie…aged in rum barrels!). Also a big fan of Glenmorangie Nectar D’Or, Bunnahabhain, and Bruichladdich. I’m looking for bolder flavors, whether it is from a smoky/peaty character or the more luscious notes that can be translated via barrel aging. Generally neat, but sometimes with one tiny cube of ice.
- My Goodness, My Guinness. Rich, toasty stout enjoyed fireside in the “Saint’s Snug” at Co. Clare. I could watch snow fall all night! And no, I don’t think that Guinness is “too filling” or “too heavy”, it just looks naughty. It is actually a fairly low calorie & low alcohol brew.
- Zinfandel & Syrah. So zesty, brambly, rugged, bold, and just plain spiked sometimes! But I can give the generally high alcohol nature of these grapes a pass in the colder months. Homemade pizzas, mushroom risotto, a filet with a Bordelaise sauce are delightful matches. Also, fond memories of enjoying a bottle of big, bad Syrah with an Artichoke ala Mode pizza at Pizza Man on theEast Side, watching the North Ave bar crowd trudge through the blizzard in their party dresses.
Maybe, Wisconsin winters aren’t so bad after all…