Near this spot are deposited the remains of one who possessed Beauty without Vanity, Strength without Insolence, Courage without Ferocity, and all the Virtues of Man, without his Vices. This Praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery if inscribed over human ashes, is but a just tribute to the Memory of Boatswain, a Dog. - George Gordon, Lord Byron
Since Pete died on November 28, I haven't felt much like blogging. Or cooking ... or cleaning ... or working .. or getting out of bed much. You understand. In my life I have lost both friends and family, and so I know too well that losing someone - in this case your best friend - changes you and leaves a hole in your heart that nothing ever fills. You just have to figure out how to be the new you, and still be a good you.
Death is part of life, and I am determined to somehow not become fatally bitter about it (a little bitter is okay). One thing that has helped is the incredible - and sincere - support I have felt from the blogging community. Some of you left sweet comments about it, some of you sent me notes - and Poppa Trix and I truly and deeply appreciate it. It means so much to know that other people understand what you're going through.
Thanks, you guys.
But I am not naturally a sentimental creature, and so of course another thing that helps me keep the blues and the bitterness at bay is a good stiff drink. So I figured it would only be fitting that my first post since writing about Pete's death would be a potent potable.
Glühwein - or mulled wine - posts are all over the interwebs at the moment. After all, these spiced Germanic drinks are seasonal ways to warm the body and soul. For my version, I incorporated some Asian spices and took a cue from the Austrian tradition of adding ein Schuss, or a shot, of extra liquor, to the drink. Rather than go with Schnapps, I chose apple brandy at the suggestion of Dave Newman of Wells Liquors, my trusty liquor purveyor. (Some people turn to priests or psychiatrists, I turn to my liquor purveyor.)
One 1.5 L bottle of full-bodied red wine, such as a Cabernet or Zweigelt
The skin of a tangerine, orange, or Clementine:
1/2 cup honey (I used a spicy buckwheat honey)
Spices, to taste:
|I used (clockwise from top left) cinnamon sticks, star anise, Szechuan peppers, cardamom pods, cloves, and allspice berries|
Warm the honey and spices over medium low heat, and then add the wine and citrus peel. Slowly heat the whole mixture, stirring occasionally, but don't let it boil. Taste for sweetness, and add more honey or sugar if you like. I let the wine gently sizzle at low heat for about 15 minutes (don't want to cook off all the alcohol!), turned off the heat, put on a lid, and let it steep until the spices had suffused the wine to my taste. Next I strained it to remove all the spices, and gently reheated before serving.
Of course the real piece de resistance is that shot of apple brandy added to the glass:
If that doesn't warm you up, you may want to consider the possibility that you're a zombie. Just a thought.
Until next time ... happy quaffing.