I've spent the evening writing Christmas cards - which means I've left it a bit late (though not to late). It's one of those jobs I find a hit of a chore to do, but I so love getting Christmas cards that it's a custom I'm determined to keep up.
It's a task that's been made worse tonight by a desperate desire to bury myself in a book (also because I've lost everybody's addresses again - I'm buying myself a proper address book next time I'm in town, that's a genuine New Years resolution). The book is Naomi Novik's 'Uprooted', bought because the marketing ploy in Waterstones (they had it by the till) cleverly worked. I'm interested in anything that plays with folklore and fairy tales and so far this one is everything I could hope for. Just the sort of absorbing, not to heavy, inventive kind of fairy story that I would wish for at any time, but seems especially perfect in winter (yet more excellent stocking filler potential here).
The drink to go with it is the equally pleasing Edinburgh Christmas gin which includes frankincense and myrrh amongst its botanicals. Apparently frankincense is meant to be good for combating stress and anxiety. I have no idea how true this is, but just looking at the bottle cheers me up, never mind drinking it.
There's something of the wizards workshop about relativley small scale distilling, especially gin with all the botanicals involved, and as gin flavouring becomes more experimental so my enthusiasm for it increases. I've mentioned before that I'm not always lucky when I choose something because it sounds exotic, but this one works. The key is subtlety, in this case it's a hint of something resinous followed by nutmeg which is enough to make it stand out, but not enough to overwhelm the essential gin character. It's a remarkably pretty bottle too, with a 1920's feel about it that's suitably glamorous for a festive occasion. It's the kind of detailing that I like, and again, find hard to resist. Now the cards are written I don't have to!