My week feels like it's being sponsored by ginger (which on the whole I'm not very fond of). It's mostly come in the form of troublesome gingerbread (new recipe, delicious eating, far to soft for decorations which is why most of mine are now in bits on the floor. Tomorrow it's back to Nigella who knows the importance of a hard biscuit at a time like this.) these things are sent to try us.
Despite that ambivalence towards ginger I really do like the King's Ginger - a really pokey liqueur from Berry Bros and Rudd. The label says they invented it for Edward the seventh in 1903 to help keep the cold out when he was driving. Drunk neat it certainly does that, the first sip is take your breath away ginger (hence the courageous drinker - it has a kick like a mule, in a good way), but after that it mellows out with lemon zest and something sweet.
It's very good on its own, especially after a cold walk but it's also an extremely versatile cocktail ingredient (for both summer and winter drinks). It's website recommends using it to mull wine or cider with, to add to champagne Kir Royal style, and to use instead of ginger wine in a whisky Mac. A measure in a hot chocolate doesn't go amiss, or simply mixed with ginger ale if you want to keep it simple.
In terms of a book choice it seems only fitting to stay with the Edwardian feel of the thing - maybe it's the picture of Edward on the label that does the trick (it's a good enough drink to be able to play up to a mildly eccentric image) but it makes me reach for Dornford Yates, John Buchan, or similar.
I had a binge on Yates about a decade ago - I'm hazy about the details but generally it was all smart young men dashing about the continent in their customised Rolls Royce's rescuing damsels in distress and sorting out dastardly foreigners (not for those in a sensitive or politically correct frame of mind). Reading Buchan's 'The Three Hostages' a couple of months ago reminded me strongly of Yates - it's the same sort of boys own adventure, silly, but essentially entertaining. They're also books that I can share with D who likes this sort of thing so they make good holiday reading.
I have a copy of Buchan's 'A Lost Lady of Old Years' that's been hanging around unread for a while now - I can see myself getting stuck into both the book and the King's Ginger over new year.