Serve a specialty drink with a bowl of hot soup after a cold holiday on the mountain
Special to the Daily
❝Here we come a-wassailing among the leaves so green,
Here we come a-wandering so fair to be seen.”
Whilst green leaves are nary to be seen in Vail this time of year, the sentiments ring true of this time-honored English holiday tradition of wassailing — singing carols door-to-door in exchange for a drink from the homeowner’s wassail bowl containing a concoction of hot ale, spices, apples and mead, with just enough alcohol to warm the singer’s chill-induced, tingling fingers and toes.
The notion of coupling music and sustenance is well established, but now has a name: “digital seasoning.” Oxford academic Charles Spence claims music can affect the way foods and drinks are enjoyed (think classical music with Italian cuisine). I am apt to recommend, for your listening pleasure, “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” together with a warm libation, such as the Exterminator Cocktail, named after a challenging double black diamond run on Crystal Mountain in Washington.
½ ounce Bailey’s Irish Cream
½ ounce Kahlua
½ ounce white rum
Fresh coffee, very hot
Combine first three ingredients in a mug, and then add very hot coffee. Top with whipped cream.
In this season of festive gatherings, my personal favorite hosting tip is to serve a specialty drink that harmonizes with a couple of soup options. This allows the host the ability to make ahead of time — perfect for entertaining or having on hand when loved ones alight from the mountain. The scrumptious pairing choices are endless: seafood chowder and beef and barley stew, corn chowder (recipe to follow) and elk chili, creamy tomato basil soup and caramelized onion chicken noodle soup or beer cheese and jalapeno sausage soup and Bavarian goulash. Wherever your ladle settles, you will warm hearts and tummies, alike.
The Wort Hotel’s Famous Corn Chowder
¼ pound bacon
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 cups fresh corn
1 cup white wine
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
½ teaspoon dill
½ teaspoon thyme
Flour to thicken
2 tablespoons chicken base
2 quarts water
12 red potatoes, quartered and boiled
¼ to ½ cup heavy cream
White pepper and salt to taste
Cheddar cheese and Parmesan cheese
Cook bacon slowly until crisp, and then drain and crumble. To bacon pan, add crumbled bacon, vegetables, wine, garlic, dill and thyme, and cook until tender. Add flour, and cook while stirring; do not brown. Add chicken broth and water, and bring to a boil. Add potatoes, and cook until tender. Add heavy cream until desired consistency is reached, and then season with salt and white pepper.
Dish hot chowder into individual oven-safe crocks, add croutons, and top with cheddar slices and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Place in oven or under a broiler to melt and brown cheese.
“Love and joy come to you, and to you your wassail, too.”
Vail resident Jennie Iverson will sign her cookbooks, “Ski Town Soups” and “Ski Town Apres Ski,” at Gorsuch in Vail Village on Saturday from 3 to 6 p.m.