It’s no secret that liquor is a simple solution to holiday gift-giving. You don’t see a lot of people lining up Dec. 26 to return bottles of 12-year-old scotch. And what better way to embrace the spirit of giving than by giving a spirit?
But let’s face it, sticking a ribbon on a generic bottle of booze can come across as a bit uninspired. Here, then, are suggestions to avoid a case of the blahs by choosing spirits that are good in the glass, but also do double duty in the kitchen, adding zest to seasonal dishes.
An Appleton recipe calls for heating 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons plain or vanilla yogurt and a half cup of heavy whipping cream until hot but not boiling, then stirring in 1 1/2 tablespoons rum and pouring the whole thing over 7 ounces of chopped semisweet chocolate. Into a heated fondue pot it goes, and let the dipping commence.
On the culinary side, try boosting the brown-sugar-plus-butter treatment for baked acorn squash halves by spooning a tablespoon of bourbon into the cavities, along with a dusting of cinnamon. It also is delicious stirred into buttered and mashed sweet potatoes. A little brown sugar in there is nice, too.
A Christmas margarita might hit the spot. Or why not stir a few tablespoons into your homemade queso dip? (Is that a Velveeta box and a can of Rotel tomatoes in the kitchen? We’ll never tell.)
You also can check the old adage that the (80) proof is in the pudding by subbing vodka for the traditional brandy when setting your Christmas pudding alight. British celebrity chef Nigella Lawson recommends warmed vodka for a purer and longer flame.