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Boilo: Cures what ales ya.

Drinking to the new year circa 1910

Over the holiday weekend, my brother-in-law Ben and I went back and forth over seasonal drinks. Gin and tonic? Summer. Whiskey neat? Winter. Mint juleps? The first Saturday in May. German beer? Fall, although a hefeweizen goes down well when it’s more humid in DC than it ever gets in Munich.

I am unconscionably committed to drinks, food, music, and literature that are appropriate for the climate, and, to some extent, the region. Luckily I’m in a temperate, cosmopolitan area, or I’d be missing out on so much. Ben lives in south Texas, so I can only assume he’s limited to Shiner, Kenny Rogers (chicken and albums), and Lonesome Dove.

Though I love a dark’n’stormy or a cold beer in July, I prefer the strong flavors and long reads of winter, so while my family enjoyed a rum and pomegranate juice on December 27, I sipped a beer and wished I’d brought the ingredients for boilo. I had a chance to make boilo on Christmas day this year, and may do it again before we thaw out. Boilo recipes can vary a lot, but this one worked for me.


1 orange, quartered (I used a couple clementines this time)
2 lemons, quartered
8 oz water
1 tsp caraway seeds
2 sticks cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
8 oz honey
10 oz cheap whiskey (I have been told that rye is traditional… Old Overholt is good)


Place fruit in a medium saucepan, pour in water and heat on medium-high. Add spices. When water boils, stir in honey. Bring back to a boil, and reduce for about 4 minutes. Remove from heat, add whiskey. Stir well. If serving immediately, pour through strainer into a teapot. Can also be left on low heat to keep warm and strained before serving, or reheated in the microwave, but take care not to cook off the alcohol. Serve in demitasses (or in mugs, but larger servings make it harder to drink, uh, responsibly), and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Photo from Flickr's Library of Congress photostream.

1 comment:

igotmoxie said...

I love the LoC's flickr stream.

Also, I think gin knows no season.