In this mercilessly challenging month of endings and beginnings, you’ll need a few drinks to ease the way. These have their comforts.
START ME UP
The cappuccino, light, frothy, and strong, prepares you for almost any day.
In Italy, the classic union of espresso, steamed milk, and a crown of steamed milk foam, is served before or during breakfast.
That tradition is expanded 4,265 miles away. The drink is enjoyed pretty much whenever you want to order it.
And the ingredients often are tweaked without controversy. Cream or soy milk instead of whole or skim milk, more espresso, a sweetener or not. Your call.
By the end of the holiday season, spurred by more than one viewing of Jon Favreau’s 2003 movie “Elf,” another variation joined the repertoire.
Will Ferrell’s Buddy, the elf whose favorite foods are candy, candy canes, candy corn, and syrup, would approve.
The technique is the same, whether the cappuccino made by machine or manually.
But … instead of milk, use eggnog. Stew Leonard’s, Ronnybrook, Hood Golden, or Trader Joe’s will do just fine.
Then, add a few drops of maple syrup. Yes, maple syrup. Grade A for light sweetness or Grade B to make it a bit more robust. Finish with a little shower of ground cinnamon.
Heretical. Subversive. Just nuts. Too much. But be sure to try one soon, or at least before Christmas 2021.
Call it a Buddiccino.
If the mere thought of this drink drives you over the edge, immediately remedy the situation with a ristretto or two, concentrated and to the point.
(Photo by Emma Sandler)
While on the morning patrol: Bloody Mary, the cocktail usually made with vodka, tomato juice, and whatever else inspires.
Using a crisp strip of bacon as a swizzle stick is pretty popular and outdoes that celery stalk.
This recipe comes from Michelin-starred chef Michael White and the Consortium of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena (https://www.originalbalsamicvinegar.eu).
It’s a very good update, adding the glorious ingredient from Luciano Pavarotti’s hometown.
The cocktail is named “Mary Modena.”
½ cup vodka
1 cup tomato juice
1 ½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar of Modena
1 tablespoon prepared jarred horseradish
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ of a freshly squeezed lemon plus juice
dash of celery bitters
dash of freshly ground black pepper
Combine all the ingredients. Stir to blend thoroughly. Pour a few.
Good vodkas for the wake-up cocktail include Ketel One, Grey Goose, Belvedere, Smirnoff No. 21, and Skyy. Recommended celery bitters: Bitter Truth, Fee Brothers, Bittermens.
And one more Bloody Mary tribute.
This is dubbed “Cherry Tomato,” from Absente, a producer of the anise-flavored liqueur. Never underestimate the appeal of The Green Fairy.
- 2 oz. Absente Absinthe Refined
- 4 oz. tomato juice, or your favorite Bloody Mary mix
- 1 oz. lime juice
Shake and serve in a cocktail glass. Garnish with a wedge or slice of lime. Dip into some Rimbaud or Baudelaire, Wilde or Hemingway.
You can give a gentle jolt to many dishes with a savory quartet of sauces from Ricante. They’ll help in Super Bowl party prep, especially if chicken or pork is on the menu.
Ricante Everything Sauces are made in Costa Rica. Non-GMO, gluten-free, with some ripe, bold flavors, and just enough heat.
Definitely try Guanabana Chimichurri and Tamarindo Caribbean Jerk, as well as habanero-infused Pineapple, and Mango Coco. They’re about $8. ricante.com. Available on Amazon.
As the calendar moves along, there is possibility.
So, uncork an American wine that sparkles, one that sets off its own fireworks, that celebrates.
Among the top producers of sparkling wine in the United States: Schramsberg, Roederer Estate, Domaine Carneros, Chandon, Mumm Napa, Iron Horse, J Vineyards, Scharffenberger, Louis Pommery, Gloria Ferrer, Argyle, and Frank Family.
HAIL TO THE (CINEMA) CHIEFS
Some presidents definitely have faced more than others, especially on the screen. Here’s a quick, nonpartisan quiz about presidential acting and the movies.
Excluded is Stanley Kubrick’s “Dr. Strangelove’ because no one competes with Peter Sellers – in any of his three roles.
ABOUT THE BLOGGER
For 34 years, Peter Gianotti reviewed wines, spirits, restaurants, and books at Newsday. He twice won Press Club of New York awards for food writing. Before he became a food critic, Gianotti was a Washington correspondent, a financial writer, and New York City reporter for the newspaper. His books include “Food Lovers’ Guide to Long Island” and “A Guide to Long Island Wine Country.” Gianotti received his B.A. from Fordham University, where he taught journalism; and his M.S. from Columbia University, where he also was a Bagehot Fellow. Harry, his Creamsicle-hued assistant, prefers the bouquets of riesling and pinot noir.