Friday, December 31, 2010

Thinkin' about Drinkin'

Well, ladies in gents, it seems as if New Years Eve is upon us, known as 'Silvester' here in Czech Republic (and a handful of other nations). All thoughts are pointed in the direction of this evenings festivities. Namely, what libations will be headlining? A recent post over at Small Measures had a great idea for hosting a party using a spin on the mixology theme. At the moment though, I'm totally into my 'winter drink mode', which translates to copious amounts of mulled wine. For some reason, in English, mulled wine sounds a bit, oh I don't know, stodgy. In Czech, there's one word, svařák. This inspires headlines like, 'Svařák Season is Here' and in general is simply perceived as a whole lot hipper than mulled wine.

While there's a lot of variations on the components of svařák, my favourite basic way is this:

Mulled Wine

One bottle cheapish red wine
1 big cinnamon stick
7 cloves
1 star anise
Strips of peel from one orange
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup rum (if you want that extra kick)

Remember to keep an eye on it so it doesn't come to a boil. The longer it simmers, the better, but I usually partake after about 10 minutes.

Another bevie we tried this year was cream liquors. Really easy to make at home, and great to give away.

Chocolate Cinnamon Cream Liquor
Makes 1 bottle
Adapted from Apetit magazine (December 2010, p96)

1 1/4 cup (300 ml) whipping cream
2/3 cup (150 ml) milk
3 1/2 oz (100 g) dark chocolate bar or chips
1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
2 big teaspoons of cinnamon
7 fl oz (200 ml) vodka

Heat the milk and cream until quite warm (careful not to boil - it gets there quickly). Add chopped chocolate pieces and whisk awhile until smooth. Add the sugar, cinnamon and vodka, again whisking, and take off the heat. Stick in the fridge and eventually poor into a pretty bottle. Gets better after a few days, and keeps for a month I'm told (we're on week two and its perfect!) Whisking a lot pays off, as our first batch was a bit lumpy. Drink over ice or a splash in coffee.

Whatever you end up imbibing tonight...Dobrou Chut'/Enjoy!

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