For alcohol, I’m usually a wine-and-beer girl. This time of year, though, I want even my alcohol to be warm. And if there’s no mulled wine available*, my need for warmth usually means moving into hard alcohol territory. Life is hard.

Luckily, warm apple cider is wondrously amenable to spiking. I’ve recently been enjoying it in these two ways: (1) with a serious punch of bourbon (members of my book club asked if I was trying to kill them); and (2) with the gentler and subtler addition to Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur, which is replacing St. Germain elderflower liqueur as my cocktail obsession. Either one is an excellent solution for a cold winter’s night.

*I’ve had mulled beer, too, and do not recommend it.

Hot buttered bourbon and cider
From Epicurious

2 cups apple cider
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar
4 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
3 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter
3/4 cup bourbon
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Ground nutmeg

Bring first 5 ingredients to simmer in medium saucepan. Remove from heat; cover and let steep 15 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons chilled butter to saucepan; bring to simmer. Remove from heat. Stir in bourbon and lemon juice. Strain into large measuring cup. Divide hot cider among 4 mugs. Cut 1 tablespoon butter into 4 pieces. Add 1 piece to each mug. Sprinkle nutmeg over.

Serves 4.

Cider cocktail with ginger liqueur
From The Kitchn

2 ounces Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur
a shot of dark rum or whiskey (optional, if gentle isn’t your thing)
2 ounces fresh apple cider
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
cinnamon stick for optional garnish

Simmer cider in a small saucepan on the stove (add a cinnamon stick if desired). Add fresh lemon juice and Domaine de Canton and continue to heat briefly. Pour into a small cup or mug.

Serves 1.


It’s hard to get enough fruits and vegetables every day, even when you have deep and abiding love for them. Luckily for me, I also have deep and abiding love for V8. I don’t need it to stand up straight so much as to feel emotionally fulfilled.

A couple of years ago, though, I learned that my beloved V8 is preposterously high in sodium.  I switched to low-sodium V8, only to find that it has a strange, off, taste.  I doctored it with Tabasco and lemon juice, and all was well.

But only in the past few months have I realized that my deep and abiding love for tomato-based juice products extends to Bloody Marys.  And a Bloody Mary without the alcohol is still pretty darn delicious. So now–adding healthy doses of worcestershire sauce, horseradish, and celery salt, along with the Tabasco and lemon juice, directly to the V8 bottle–I’ve turned my daily glass of vegetables into a Virgin Mary. And the bottle’s all mixed up and ready to satisfy all your non-virgin brunch needs.


Where's the vodka? (In the freezer)

We will leave for another day the perplexing question of why I love V8 and Bloody Marys yet detest raw tomatoes.  Someday science will solve this eternal dilemma.