What's Good about Winter
I have never been fond of cold weather. I just can't abide the ice and freezing driving winds. But no matter, I've survived a good number of Januarys and here's the secret of how I've done it: when a month for me is negative, I accentuate the positive. And there actually are some positives specific to winter.
I like to build up to the mega-dinner and other weekends with dinner parties and weekend brunches.
December offers some culinary consolations. At this time of year, hearty produce, such as root vegetables, and wonderful game birds are available. Comforting warm fare like risottos, curries and stick-to-your-ribs stews help you feel like there is something to smile about in the winter. OK, I agree, hot chocolate with marshmallows after skating or skiing is nice, especially if you have added a little spirit to it!
Most January sit-down meals if your watching your calories should be accompanied by wines like those made in Portugal or Mediterranean France if not those big rich delicious Italian reds will do me just fine.
Easing into the meal with a delicious cocktail is the logical way to start it off right.
- 1 oz. brandy
- 1 oz. tawny port
- 1/2 oz. maraschino liqueur
- 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
- Garnish: orange slice
- Combine all the ingredients with cracked ice in a cocktail shaker.
- Shake well.
- Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
- Garnish with orange slice.
- 2½ oz. VSOP Cognac
- 1/2 tsp. bar sugar
- Drop of water
- Freshly ground nutmeg
- Dissolve sugar with the water in a chilled old fashioned glass.
- Add brandy. Stir well.
- Sprinkle with ground nutmeg. Add ice cubes.
For designated drivers. (But on the other hand, as I'm serving, I will add 2 oz. 100% blue agave Silver Tequila to my drink just before serving!)
- 1 Haas ripe Avocado, diced
- 5 oz. chilled tomato juice
- 2 oz. fresh lime juice
- 1 small jalapeño chili, finely chopped (forget the seeds)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- Garnish: Lime wedge
- Combine all the ingredients, except the garnish in a blender.
- Blend until smooth.
- Chill mixture for 1 hour.
- Serve in a chilled Collins glass. Garnish.
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