First Snow Requires Hot Whiskey

As I sit in my living room this morning around 7:00 am, I can see the white sparkle of the season’s first snow through windows and glass doors facing north, east and west. There is not a lot of snow, maybe three quarter-inches, but it’s enough to cover J’Ann’s still blooming plants.

First Snow in Estes Park

First Snow in Estes Park

Poking through the white blanket are orbs of bright purple, red and orange. In the distance moisture hangs in the air forming a blue-white cloud composed of water molecules that seem to be deciding if they want to grow up to be rain, grapple, or fully-developed snowflakes. Through the east-facing windows next to the fish pond stands a mama deer and her two fawns. They are looking at the pile of pumpkins that J’Ann has artfully arranged by the front door. Mom seems to be telling her babies that they will come back after Thanksgiving and eat those pumpkins when the lady inside throws them into the yard.

In my living room there’s a fire going behind me that helps create a stark contrast between cold outdoors and the warm cozy feel of indoors. Our little lime tree has several nearly mature limes and—as if trying to defy winter’s inevitable onset—it has several white blooms preparing to turn themselves into fruit.

OK, being a Whiskey Man, I am thinking cold snow, warm fire—it’s time for a hot toddy. Well, maybe not right now at 7:00 am. What I can do is a bit of research to select a toddy for later today. . .

I think this afternoon l’ll make an Apple Toddy. I have modified a recipe from Jim Meehan’s book, The PDT Cocktail Book (2011, p.329). And I’ll actually be using Black Bear Distillery’s Irish-Style Whiskey, unique among whiskeys distilled in the U.S. for being allowed use of the “Irish-Style” designation on its label. Victor Matthews, the owner and head distiller, explains that Ireland authorized that designation because of Black Bear’s fidelity to standards of production in Ireland. You can read more about this special whiskey and Black Bear Distillery in the Guidebook to Whiskey and Other Distilled Spirits in Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming (pp.136-137). If you don’t have access to this product, you can of course use any quality Irish whiskey.

  • 2 oz Apple Cider

  • 1-1/2 oz Irish whiskey or Canadian whisky

  • 1 oz Drouhin Pommeau

  • 1/4 oz Spiced liqueur, such as St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram or Benedictine

  • 1 bar spoon of quality maple syrup

    Heat all ingredients in a saucepan and serve in a heated mug. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

After writing down Mr. Meehan’s recipe, I realized it’s a long time until “afternoon,” so I believe I’ll make myself an Irish coffee. After all, it is now morning and it is coffee. I think W.C. Fields would approve because, as he famously stated, “I must have a drink of breakfast.”

“Keep the wind to your back and a smile on your face.”