I don’t know what’s gotten into me. Last night, I was making dinner with my spouse, and I suddenly felt excited about the weeks and, yes, the year to come. I looked down at our oven, nodding at the newly busted knob we’ve duct-taped to the panel to protect the remainder of the electrical, the knob which controls our most-used-but-now-suddenly-useless stove-top element, and I wasn’t bummed about the break or the big decisions we’ll have to make: Do we fix it for half the price of a new oven, knowing the other knobs could blow? Do we replace it with a new oven? If so, do we try induction or switch to gas? How are we going to find a contractor to remove the strip of quartz behind our current stove because all new slide-in models slide in flush? How do we budget any of this?
Right now, we’re making do. Sitting on it. Doing nothing.
And we’re okay with that. Even if it means the holiday canning isn’t going to happen. Even if it means that the rest of the oven could die right in the middle of Christmas baking, just like our mixer did last year!
We’re okay with that. In fact, we’re brilliant.
La-di-Dah! Break out the holly. Start singing “Fum, Fum, Fum!”
With this brilliance in mind, I’m pleased to announce that SSJ’s annual Advent calendar will be back in 2021!
I’ll most SSJ’s 2021 Advent Love-to-Do List on Saturday, November 27th, followed by a SSJ Advent kick-off post on the first Sunday of Advent, November 28th. Follow along daily on Smelling Salts Journal’s Home Page or by consulting SSJ’S 2021 Advent Events Calendar
In the spirit of the season, and well, because I wanted to, I woke up at 5:30 this morning and started putting up an Allspice Dram!
Every winter, my good friend Julianne makes an Allspice Dram to add to her winter cocktails. She always speaks about the project with legit glee. Of course, she lives far off, and with our busy family schedules, it’s unlikely we’ll be together to clink glasses. So, I thought I’d be with her in spirit (I restrain myself by not saying “spirits,” right? I mean, I already spelled out IRL in drop caps, above) by putting up and tending to my own allspice dram and adding it to my own cocktails.
As it turns out, she uses the DIY Allpsice Dram Recipe from Serious Eats.
- Pound 1/4 cup of allspice berries in a mortar and pestle [absolutely therapeutic!].
- Place the spice in a clean, sterile jar.
- Add 1 cup of light rum. [I emptied an old bottle of Bacardi]
- Seal it tightly and set it in a cool dark place to sit for 5 days.
- After those 5 days, bash up One Cinnamon Stick and add it to the jar.
- Seal it tightly and set in a cool dark place for 7 more days.
- After a total of 12 days, double-strain the infusion through a fine mesh strainer and a coffee filter into a clean container.
- On the stovetop, stir 2/3 cup brown sugar and 1 1/2 cups water over medium heat until dissolved and boiling, about 5 minutes.
- Cool the syrup.
- Combine the cooled syrup and infusion in a clean sterilized container.
- Shake and seal for at least 2 days before using.
- Store the dram at room temperature for 1-2 months.