This week has been a very stressful one regardless of whether you are a republican, democrat, independent – or frankly don’t care about politics one way or another. It is inevitable that even the people who fall under this latter category have friends and/or family that have unleashed at least some of their election-frustration unto them. And, no matter how hard anyone tried these past few days, every social media outlet has been inundated with people wearing MAGA hats or Biden/Harris t-shirts and others sporting ‘I Voted’ stickers. The election was everywhere you turned.
So, being an avid meal-planner and in anticipation of the frenzy this (hopefully) once in a lifetime election was going to bring about, I decided the entirety of this week would be considered a ‘cheat week.’
The meals I started preparing for included a variety of comfort foods like macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, chili, rice krispies, and nachos. I also started brainstorming about other ways to take the edge off when the crunching of the nachos or the sweetness of the rice krispies just wouldn’t do the trick. (It’s not by coincidence that the most searched for phrase on Google on election night was ‘liquor store near me’!)
As the weather started to change here in New England, I thought I might as well take advantage of a warm and soothing alcoholic beverage.
We’ve had a few bottles of Greek brandy – mostly Metaxa – in our liquor cabinet for some time, so I figured … why not? The drink is perfect for a cold winter night – or any time during election week for its comforting nature. Some may even argue that it could substitute for morning tea or coffee … Kidding – but no judgment – it’s election week!
One of the good things about this drink is that you can make a whole batch of it and keep it in your Instapot or on a low burning stove for up to 2 hours (in case you happen to be hosting a small, socially distant celebration or commiseration election ‘party’ this weekend).
Στην υγειά μας!
Ingredients (makes 8 servings):
6 cups apple cider
4 teaspoons honey
3 inches ginger
2 cup brandy
4 lemons (+ 3-inch peel from one of them)
10 whole black peppercorns
2 star anise
4 small cinnamon sticks
Place cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves, peppercorns, ginger, and lemon peel in the center of a cheesecloth (or piece of bounty) and secure with twine.
Pour apple cider and honey into a large pot/Instapot and add the cheesecloth bundle.
Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
You can serve the cider after 20 minutes, but the longer it simmers, the more developed the flavor will be.
Add the brandy just before serving (the alcohol will cook off if you put it in too early).
Ladle into mugs and squeeze the juice from half a lemon in each serving.