Now that there’s finally some snow on the ground here in the woods of northwestern Montana it feels as if the Yuletide season has finally begun. While we here in our household celebrate the Solstice, whichever holiday, or seasonal traditions you hold, a warm drink this time of year is always a nice treat!
Without further ado, the recipe! I’ll share the story for those interested at the bottom of the post.
A Yuletide Hot Toddy
1/2 cup milk (we prefer whole)
1-2 tsp. Cocoa powder
Recently boiling water
1 shot coffee liquor
1 shot brennivin (or other Aquavit - Our favorite is a Montana distilled one called “Skadi”)
Slowly heat the milk in a pan and dissolve in the cocoa powder. Pour into your favorite mug, add hot water from your kettle, THEN add your liquor. (Note: if you put your spirits directly into your hot milk you risk curdling it! Also: yes, this is basically our strain of boozy hot chocolate, note that there is no sugar added to this recipe and we use straight cocoa powder. That’s because most coffee liquors are SO sweet that adding sugar, or using premade hot cocoa packets would make this drink unbearably sweet.). Stir, add frothy milk on top if you’d like to go the extra mile and can pour fancy like Jules can, enjoy!
Julian and I had our honeymoon in Iceland! Since we’d already been living together for more than a decade when we finally tied the knot we asked friends and family for travel funds instead of stuff and headed out the next spring, right around Easter. It was an amazing experience with loads of naturally beauty, hot springs, wool (surprise!) art, historical sites and delicious food and drinks while we were there.
I’m not sure what it was about Icelandic cows, or the dairy produced there. Maybe it was simply never reduced fat, but we found the coffee and chocolate to be particularly indulgent. We also noted how often they used caraway in their cooking and drinks. We had “rye” ice cream, and Brennivin, Icelands “signature distilled spirit” (and all aquavits though we hadn’t tried any at the time) all taste of caraway. We brought some home with us and were thrilled to find a made in Montana equivalent earlier this year.
A few years ago on a whim we added the aquavit to some cocoa and decided it was really pretty good! The only thing missing for us to feel like it was a reminder of our time in Iceland was coffee, substitute coffee liquor for sugar and it was perfect.
This drink is now my favorite thing to settle down with by the fire to spin or knit in the evenings during this darker turn of the year. I hope that some of you try it, and find it warming as well.
Wishing you all safe and happy holidays.
Here’s Julian and me in Iceland just before we started walking down into Thingvellir National Park