Warm from the inside out

January 14, 2004|by KATE COLEMAN

Oh, the weather outside might not be frightful, but it has been cold.

How about warming up from the inside out with a nice hot cup of something to drink?

Grocery store shelves are full of tea options - with and without caffeine, in many flavors and for several purposes. They're touted as helping with tension, sleeplessness, even indigestion.

There's a wide world of coffees - flavored and not, made from beans grown in different parts of the globe, ranging from a plain cup of "Joe" to a frothy cappuccino or latte.

There are many other options.

You can buy packaged, dried and instant spiced cider.

Add boiling water and it can warm you, but you might agree there's something to be said for spicing up a kettle yourself, letting the winter-cozy aroma fill your kitchen on a cold mid-January evening.


John Martin of Ivy Hill Farm in Smithsburg does it.

He has been making apple cider since 1975 on the farm that's been in his family for five generations - since before the Civil War.

He made 7,000 gallons last season - less than the nearly 20,000 gallons a year he made before the E. coli scare in the 1990s, he says.

About 60 of Ivy Hill's 150 acres are in fruit. Martin grows about 10 different apple varieties. He uses a blend of three or four different kinds in his cider. He makes sure to have a combination of the sweetness of red delicious; the semi-sweetness of golden delicious; and the tart taste of Jonathan, McIntosh, Stayman or Jonagold, to name a few.

The cider-making process includes careful inspection, sanitizing, crushing the apples - 2,200 pounds of pressure per square inch, Martin says. A bushel of apples yields 3 1/2 to 4 gallons of cider.

Martin sells a packaged spice mix in his farm store. He's sold out this year, but he says its main ingredient is cinnamon, and it includes bits of orange peel, some allspice and cloves.

Martin recommends using some orange zest in with the spices for the stovetop kettle of cider.

"You don't have to bring it to a boil," he says.

The longer you simmer it, the better it smells, he adds.

Want to get even warmer?

Artist Hilda Eiber of Falling Waters, W.Va., works in a variety of media - paint, sculpture, tile, ceramic on glass.

She also works in food. Eiber, who's been teaching classes at Washington County Museum of Fine Arts for several years, is the former owner of Hilda's restaurant in Washington, D.C.

Eiber shared a simple recipe for a tasty warm drink that's quick and easy to fix - Hilda's Punch. Microwave, for a minute, a mug of orange juice or citrus juice drink with a sprig of fresh sage.

"It's delicious," she says.

Eiber also has a family recipe for Bavarian Mulled Wine. Donisl, a traditional beer hall in Munich, Germany, has been in her family for seven generations, since 1715, she says.

Joan Winchester of Alexandria, Va., harks back to a traditional form of hot chocolate to warm her winter days - although she takes advantage of microwave technology to achieve it.

She uses raw sugar and cocoa imported from Holland.

"I think it tastes better," she says.

Winchester, who teaches human growth and development at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Va., doesn't drink her treat at night because it might keep her awake.

She likes it on a Sunday, curled up in warm, woolen socks with a newspaper.

"It's especially good when you've been shoveling snow," she says.

Mulled Cider

For Mulled Cider Mix (makes 1/4 cup):

  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice

  • 2 sticks cinnamon

  • 6 whole cloves

  • 1/8 teaspoon ginger

For cider:

  • 1 quart apple cider

  • 1 package Mulled Cider Mix.

Place ingredients for Mulled Cider Mix into a cheesecloth packet.

Heat apple cider with Mulled Cider Mix in a saucepan until the cider is hot, but don't allow it to boil.

Serve in 8 mugs.

Cider may be perked in large coffee urn, using 2 quarts of cider and 2 packets of Mulled Cider Mix in the coffee filter basket.

- Source: Lynn. F. Little, family and consumer sciences educator with University of Maryland Cooperative Extension in Washington County

Hot Chocolate

  • 1 teaspoon cocoa, unsweetened

  • 1 teaspoon raw sugar

  • Milk or cream, enough to form a paste with combined cocoa and sugar

  • 8 ounces milk

Combine cocoa and sugar in cup.

Add enough milk or cream to form a thick (not soupy) paste.

Heat milk in microwave. Slowly pour hot milk into cocoa-sugar paste, stirring and blending.

Top with a squirt of whipped cream.

- Recipe from Joan Winchester, Alexandria, Va.

Bavarian Mulled Wine

  • 2/3 cup sugar

  • 0.75 liter red wine

  • Juice and pulp of two oranges

  • Zest of 1 orange

  • Zest, juice and pulp of 1/2 lemon

  • 1 stick cinnamon

  • 5 whole cloves

  • 1 pint strong breakfast tea

In a large saucepan, slightly caramelize sugar. Add spices, remove from heat, and add wine. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add juice, pulp and zest of lemon and oranges. Stir. Add tea.

Pour into container and place on candle warmer. Float an orange slice. Serve in mugs.

Optional: Float a sprig of fresh rosemary and/or 1/2 cup of fresh whole cranberries.

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