Sunday, December 04, 2016

A Little Something: Winter Drinks

PHS Columnist and Harlequin Historical author Nicole Locke shares her favourite winter drinks.

I love this time of year, the bundle-up clothes, the brisk smells of pine needles during a park walk and split pea soup simmering on the hob when we return home. But one winter custom I celebrate the most is the hot drinks I clutch in my hand.

I don’t know what I like better, the wafts of steam from hot chocolate, the way wassail keeps the mug scalding hot so my perpetually cold hands finally feel warm, or that first sip of Hot Buttered Rum.
As the years have gone by, I’ve had lots of hot drinks, but I’ve also found my favourites. So I thought I’d share a few. 

Hot Chocolate

It’s the quintessential cold weather drink, and there’s so many recipes I’ve tried. In a pinch, I will drink the dried powdered stuff (with peppermint schnapps). But my absolute favourite is taken from Steingarten’s The Man Who Ate Everything.  

Chocolate Chaud (adopted from Pierre Herme’). 

2 2/14 cups whole milk
¼ cup bottled still water
¼ cup (generous) superfine granulated sugar
1 (100 gram) bar (3.5 ounces) dark bittersweet chocolate (at least 70%) finely sliced
¼ cup cocoa powder, loosely packed (1 oz or 28 gram).
In a saucepan, stir together the milk, water, and sugar and bring to a boil. Then add the chopped chocolate and cocoa. Turn it to a simmer while stirring until it has thickened.

Mr. Steingarten recommends an immersion mixer, etc and more, but I’ve only gone so far as to thicken it. It’s wicked rich, and so good.

 Wassail

This one is for the kids, but I probably drink it more than them…mostly because I’ve been drinking it since I was one! It’s my mother’s recipe.
1 tbl whole cloves
4 sticks cinnamon
½ cup sugar
Boil in 1 cup water
Add 1 gallon apple cider (I use unfiltered apple juice). 1 cup fresh orange juice, ½ cup lemon juice, pinch of salt.

I’ve tinkered with the recipe and it never turns out bad. I sometimes just add extra orange juice and skip the lemon juice, and all too often I add black tea, which gives it depth (and caffeine!).

--  Nicole :-)

Nicole's fourth book in the Lovers and Legends series, In Debt to the Enemy Lord, is out now!

“You have a debt to pay. You owe me your life.”

Anwen, bastard of Brynmor, has fought hard to find her place in the world. But she’s forced to re-evaluate everything when she’s saved from death by her enemy Teague, Lord of Gwalchdu. Instead of releasing her, he holds her captive…

Teague trusts no-one. And with ominous messages threatening his life he must keep Anwen under his watch, no matter how much her presence drives him wild. And when passionate arguments turn to passionate encounters, Teague must believe that the strength of their bond will conquer all!


To find out more about Nicole Locke, visit her website, and follow her on Twitter.

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