offset \ˈȯf-ˌset\ noun

a force or influence that makes an opposing force ineffective or less effective

Cocktails For The New Year

I had a gap in publishing this year, but with this month, I'm catching up. Winter holidays are like a small hibernation. The temperature drops and we crank up the heating every now and then, when we feel cold. I like it because things slow down and get quiet. This is exacerbated with the ongoing pandemic. Still, we go outside to take a walk even though the weather is not as nice and plan out new trips that might happen. Nobody knows.

After the mandatory Covid-19 scare (because the nearby store was packed before holidays) and a home test after a few days, we came up negative so it's OK. The plans for the New Year's eve are ongoing. We'll be playing pen and paper RPG with friends on a video call. In the meantime, we decided to prepare by having some snacks around and home made cocktails. Mind you, we have no fancy glasses so they're not really super-presentable. Here's the list:

Cranberry Mimosa

Cranberry Mimosa

This one is quick to assemble and I've been assured is a holiday cocktail. For it, you need to prepare a simple syrup beforehand and you augment it with sparkling wine. Here's the version we tried. Nothing fancy.

  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • 1 cup cranberries (halved)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 bottle prosecco wine
  • several sprigs rosemary (optional)
  • several pieces fresh cranberries (optional)

Combine water, sugar and cranberries in a saucepan and bring to a boil constantly stirring. Remove from heat and cover. Refrigerate. If you make it in the morning, you can make cocktails in the evening. To assemble, strain the syrup and put 1 shot in a glass. Add 2 shots of sparkling wine (we used prosecco). Garnish with rosemary sprig and some fresh cranberries on a stick. You can also go wild and put the sugar on the glass rim.

Spicy Hot Toddy

Spicy Hot Toddy

This reminds me of mulled wine. Essentially it's a hot whiskey that can warm you up. It's commonly served in pubs around here. Here's a version with a spiced tea that serves two.

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 piece star anise
  • 3 pieces allspice
  • 1 piece clove
  • 4 pods cardamom
  • 1 thumbsize piece cinnamon stick
  • 2 bags black tea
  • 2 shots whiskey
  • 1/2 piece orange (juiced, optional)

Put water and spices and sugar in a sauce pan. Have it boil for five minutes, then remove from the heat. Add in the black tea bags and simmer for another four minutes. Remove and discard the spices and the teabags with a slotted spoon and add two shots of whiskey, maple syrup and a juice of half an orange. Whisk and put in mugs. Serve hot.

Homemade Cream Liquor

Homemade Cream Liquor

Of course, a vegan version. For this one you'll need a blender. We have a Vitamix, which is high powered and can make quick work of cashews and can turn the whole thing very smooth. This should give you about half a liter.

  • 1/2 cup whiskey
  • 1 carton plant based cooking cream (250ml)
  • 1/3 cup cashews (soaked overnight, or raw if using Vitamix)
  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup oat milk
  • 1 pinch nutmeg

Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend away for a minute. Probably longer in a weaker blender. Serve chilled.

As this year wraps up, this is the first time we've had so many days off in a row and not used them to travel somewhere. It takes a bit of effort to fight the restlessness and take it easy. Planning out things for the next twelve months helps with that. Into the new year we go.