Drink Recipes

These are drink recipes that I've collected from various sources. Many are hot, winter drinks.

Oatmeal Posset


Traditional Scottish Recipes
- Oatmeal Posset

A "posset" is a hot drink of milk with various additions as a remedy for a cold. But whether you have a cold or not, any drink with honey and whisky has to go down well!


One UK pint (20 fluid ounces or 600ml or two and a half US cups) milk
Half ounce (15g or 2 tablespoons) medium oatmeal
Quarter teaspoon (15g) salt
2 teaspoons (10ml) clear honey (Scottish heather honey if you can!)
1 tablespoon (15ml) whisky (or brandy, if you prefer)
Grated nutmeg or cinnamon sticks to taste

Add the oatmeal and salt to the milk in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring continuously. Remove from the heat allow to stand for ten minutes.
Strain the liquid into a clean saucepan, pressing the oatmeal to extract as much liquid as possible, discarding the oatmeal at the end. Stir in the honey and grated nutmeg plus the whisky or brandy. Reheat until it is almost boiling and serve immediately in mugs. Instead of using nutmeg, you can put a cinnamon stick into each mug and stir the drink in the mug with this between sips.

Saintly Swedish Glögg Recipe (hot spiced wine)



Yield. Makes about five 750 ml bottles
Preparation time. About 90 minutes

1.5 liter bottle inexpensive dry red wine
1.5 liter bottle inexpensive American port
750 ml bottle inexpensive brandy
10 inches total of cinnamon sticks
15 cardamom seed pods or 1 teaspoon whole cardamom seeds
2 dozen whole cloves
1 orange peel, whole and washed
1/2 cup dark raisins
1 cup blanched almonds
2 cups sugar
Garnish with the peel of another orange

About the wine, port, and brandy. There is no need to invest in expensive wine, port, or brandy because the spices are going to pre-empt any innate complexity of a fine wine, but don't use anything cheap. Remember, the sum will be no better than its parts. If you want to play, instead of brandy try using Swedish aquavit, a caraway flavored vodka popular in Scandinavia.

About the raisins. Golden raisins will work, but dark raisins are better.

About the cardamom. Cardamom comes in three forms: Pods, seeds, and powder. The pods look like orange seeds. Cardamom seed pods may be hard to find, so you may need to order them from a spice specialist like Penzeys.com, but don't leave out the cardamom. Cardamom is the secret ingredient. The seeds within the pods are either black or tan, about 1/3 the size of peppercorns. If you can't find pods and can only find seeds, use about 1 teaspoon of them. Do not use powder.

About the almonds. It is important to get naked cream-colored almonds that have had the shells and brown skins removed. The skins are bitter and full of brown coloring that can give the glögg a dusty texture. Do not use salted or smoked almonds. If you can only find almonds with skins, you can remove them by blanching them. Here's how: Boil a pot of water, dump in the almonds, wait for the water to boil again, let them boil for about a minute, pour off the water, and rinse with cold water, and drain. The skins will slip right off if you pinch them.

About the cloves. Do not use powdered cloves.

Warning. I had a reader once complain that the recipe was way to sweet. This is a sweet drink to begin with, but upon further investigation I learned that he let is steep in a slow cooker for 12 hours. Water and alcohol can evaporate from a slow cooker (notice the grooves under the lid). This is to help keep the top of the meat cool during braising, a subject for another discussion.

Do this
1) Crack the cardamom seed pods open by placing a pod on the counter and laying a butter knife on top of it. With the palm of your hand, press on the knife. It will crack it open so the flavors of the seeds can escape. You can leave the seeds in the pods once they are cracked.

2) Pour the red wine and port into a stainless-steel or porcelain kettle. Do not use an aluminum or copper pot since these metals interact with the wine and brandy to impart a metallic taste. Add the cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, orange peel, raisins, and almonds. Cover and simmer.

3) Put the sugar in a pan and soak it with half the brandy. Warm over a medium-low flame and stir occasionally until it becomes a clear, golden syrup and all the sugar is dissolved. Let it simmer for about 15 minutes until the tiny bubbles become large burbles. This starts caramelizing of the sugar and adds a layer of flavor.

4) Add the sugar syrup to the spiced wine mix. Cover and let it simmer over a low heat for an hour.

5) Taste. If you wish, add more sugar or brandy. If you do, go easy, 1/4 cup at the most. As my barber says, "I can always cut more off but I can't put it back on". You can always add more brandy, but if you go over the top, you can't get back under.

6) Strain to remove the spices, almonds, and raisins. You can serve your glögg immediately or bottle it in clean used wine or whiskey bottles. A month or two of aging really enhances the flavors and marries them beautifully. A year is even better. If you are going to age glögg for more than a month or two, fill the bottles as high as possible and seal them tight. You don't have to lie them down to age, and if you use used corks, they might leak where the corkscrew entered if you lie them down. A good glögg will throw a thick purple sediment as it ages, but that doesn't become a problem for months. It's just normal settling of particulate matter held in suspension as well as compounds in the wine coming out of solution as they combine with oxygen in the aging process. Just pour gently and don't shake the bottle and discard the sediment when you get to the bottom of the bottle. Tastes like mud.

7) Fringe benefits. Do not discard the raisins and almonds when you are done, they are impregnated with flavor! I put the raisins in a jar in the refrigerator, and my wife bakes them into panettone, an Italian raisin bread (after I snack down a few handsful). I roast the almonds in a 225°F oven for about 90 minutes and munch them as snacks during a football game.

8) Serving. To serve glögg, warm it gently in a saucepan over a low flame or, better still, in a slow cooker. Serve it in a mug and, don't skip this, garnish it with a strip of fresh orange peel, twisted over the mug to release the oils. Drink while seated and give your car keys to a friend.

This page was revised on 2/9/2009



Being an American, I was aware of wassail, but had never tasted the brew. Had I been British, I probably would have been more aware what the heck wassail actually was.

For the record, wassail is a greeting that rich folks gave other rich folks around the holidays.It comes from the Anglo-Saxon phrase waes hael, a term often used as a toast meaning, be hale or good health.

People would walk around their community, knocking on other people's doors, and sing "Waes Hael!". The people answering the door, feeling a tad lonely, and a little concerned at the mental health of these door to door hailers. So they offered them heated alcohol.

The drink could really consist of nearly anything, as long as it had ale or sherry has a base, apples or cider and mulled spices. Some people recommend mixing the wassail with eggs, but these folks should be patted on the head, sent to the store to pick up some fresh eggs, and then mocked while absent.

Incidentally, after you pour yourself a mug, remove the wassail from heat, or else you'll end up forgetting about it and then having a nice sauce pan full of wassail syrup.

Not that I'm speaking from first hand experience *cough, cough*.

The taste of this drink is quite good. Deep, rich and spicy. It's no wonder why this drink was handed out to those who went out caroling.

2 pints and 1/4 cup brown ale (winter ale and scottish ale will also suffice)
3-4 cinnamon sticks
4 cloves
Zest from 1/2 lemon
4 apples
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup port
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground all spice
1/4 teaspoon ground cardomon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large sauce pan, pour in 2 pints of ale. Add the cinnamon sticks, lemon zest and cloves and bring to a simmer over low heat.

Take an apple, and score it with a knife around the circumfrance of the apple. Place in a baking dish. Repeat this step for all of the apples. Cover with one cup of brown sugar, 1/4 cup of ale, and all of the port. Cover baking dish and place in oven, cooking for 30 minutes.

While apples are baking, place remaining sugar and spices into the sauce pan, ensuring it's well mixed.

When apples are done baking, place entire contents of baking dish into sauce pan. Allow to cook over a low heat for anothe 30-40 minutes.

Serve hot, one-two ladles into your favorite mug.

Serves 6-8