Time. Age. Change. Always with us, yet fleeting by, day after day.
Saturday night was the first time this year it truly felt like fall. Dampness in the air from intermittent rain brought a chill to the bones, scarlet and golden bronze leaves floated to the ground with their last breath. As I cozied in for the evening after cleaning up a huge mess I’d made constructing a warming, spice laden kuri stew I felt something I haven’t every really felt before. Older.
There I was, scraping the fragrant vanilla seeds out of their pods, releasing a bold scent that reminded of an old man’s pipe. The house was quiet except for the faint whistling of the tea kettle.
My agenda for the next few hours were set. No fancy outfit or worrying about getting my lipstick just right. No wondering what bottle of wine I should bring to party with unfamiliar faces. No dreading a late night out and an early morning alarm clock. Just a hot toddy, new book, and a purring cat on my lap. And there wasn’t one part of me that wished for something different.
Now that I’m armed with the just released “Winter Cocktails” book written by Maria Del Mar Sacasa, I plan on having plenty of these Saturday nights over the next few months. I’ve never been one to dabble in the cocktail area much, but with inspiration from Maria’s inventive, yet easy recipes, that is going to change. Besides recipes, she’s included beautiful step-by-step photos that explain techniques like muddling, prepping garnishes, making ice molds, and opening champagne.
A classic hot buttered rum recipe is always good, but this little number stole my heart with the addition of vanilla bean and hints of maple from dark brown sugar. With a slight butterscotch flavor and a silky smooth texture, it’s perfect for sipping.
And ironically, a pat of damn good butter is one of those things you don’t appreciate until you’re older either. Cheers to you my friends.
Vanilla Bean Hot Buttered Rum
3 oz dark rum
1 1/2 c hot water
For the Butter:
4 T unsalted butter at room temperature
1 vanilla bean pod, seeds scraped out
1 1/2 T dark brown sugar
pinch each of salt & cinnamon
To make the butter, vigorously mix ingredients together together in a medium bowl. Set aside until ready to use. You can make in advance and store covered in the refrigerator. Stir together rum and water. Place 1 T butter into 2 warmed cups, then pour equal parts of the drink over the top. (If you would like it a little sweeter, feel free to add a touch more sugar.)