Saturday, August 26, 2017

Crimson Snow with a 'Honeysuckle'

'Crimson Snow' is a collection of winter set mysteries, particularly good because in amongst the cheerfully over the top tales set against snowbound country houses there are a couple of much darker stories - ones with accidental victims or which murders committed in the pursuit of petty thefts. It gives the book a slightly different balance to the rest of the short story anthologies in the and suggests there's a lot more material and variety for these collections to cover yet.

I found the 'Honeysuckle' in Ambrose Heath's 'Good Drinks' and assumed it was simply a rum version of a hot toddy (although all of these books devote whole sections to the toddy so 'simply' maybe isn't the right word).

The instructions are to dissolve two teaspoonfuls of honey in a tumbler with boiling water, Add a slice of lemon, rum to your taste or discretion, fill up with hot water and stir well before sampling.

The result is hot, sweet, and satisfying. Much sweeter than the whisky toddys I normally make, and not quite what I expected. It's the honey that took centre stage in this, helped by the fact that I'm using a strongly flavoured, dark, Greek honey. My rum is Goslings Black Seal (a dark Bermuda rum) with a muscavado sugar note to it that blended in with the honey in a way that complimented and underlined it's character. The lemon stops it from being too sweet, but only just. Different honeys and rums would change the character of this one quite a lot (which sounds like hours of fun to me).

For obvious reasons I've always associated hot alcoholic drinks with winter, and this one is comforting and fragrant enough to brighten and warm the coldest of days (it's also making me wonder why we get so hung up on mulled wine when there are so many other very easy options out there) but turns out it's not just for Christmas.

It's not quite 9 o'clock and dark outside, and whilst it's not quite autumn, it is the end of August, and no matter how warm the days are there's a definite cooling off after sunset. Turns out this is a great drink to sit with whilst watching bats in the gathering dusk.

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