The hard part about getting into mixology after moving to Toronto…. the LCBO is seriously lacking in ingredients. Thankfully we travel to the States often enough to stack up on the good stuff. But sometimes you just really want to try something you’ve been hearing a lot about and grow impatient enough to just make it yourself. High on my list was Allspice Dram, a rum-based liqueur infused with allspice berries and other spices (we used cinnamon in ours, but you could play around with cloves, nutmeg, and even black peppercorns). There were so many tasty sounding cocktails containing this one ingredient missing from our liquor cabinet that I decided to DIY it. And you know what, homemade Allspice Dram is some good stuff! Not that I can compare it to the store bought thing. Not until that next trip to the U.S. that is.
Polish Christmas Eve is my favorite Holiday ever. The evening starts with the kids eagerly searching the sky for the first star (representing the Star of Bethlehem) so that the festivities can finally begin. Then there is the sharing of the Opłatek – a blessed wafer that is typically rectangular in shape and embossed with a Christmas scene. Similar to the bread wafer used in Holy Communion, they are usually sold through churches or found online. At the start of dinner everyone grabs a piece of wafer, turns to a family member next to them, and wishes them something after they break off a piece of the wafer and place it in their mouth – whether it be good health or success at a new job or a promise to be better next year. The wishes and breaking of wafer then gets reciprocated and the good wishes continue all around the table.
Since Christmas Eve marks the end of Advent, traditionally the meal is meatless and filled with tasty fish dishes instead. Thirteen dishes have to be on the table (representing Jesus and the Apostles) and an extra plate is set for an unexpected guest. The menu includes items such as fried carp, pickled herring, cod in a tomato-carrot sauce, pierogi, mushroom or beet soup, poppy seed bread, noodles with poppy seeds, stewed fruits and makowiec (poppy seed cake).
Today I wanted to share my family’s recipe for Barszcz with Uszka (a beet soup with mini mushroom pierogi). It’s one of my favorites! It’s a little bit peppery, a little bit garlicky, a little bit sour, a little bit sweet, and such a beautiful shade of beet!
For the recipe, check out my guest post at Spoonfuls of Spice!
When you discover a love of mixology, you quickly realize that you need a house cocktail. And that is exactly what the 1304 is. Our signature cocktail named after our apartment number. And what better day to share it with you all than on Repeal Day! On December 5th, 1933, the U.S. finally repealed Prohibition making liquor once again a legal pastime for us all. With a gin base, the 1304 has a grapefruit kick thanks to the Aperol and lemon juice, and the St. Germain and rhubarb bitters add sweetness and depth of flavor.
So drink up and we hope you enjoy our house cocktail!
- 1 1/2 oz Gin
- 3/4 oz St. Germain
- 1/2 oz Aperol
- 3/8 oz Lemon Juice
- 2 dashes of Rhubarb Bitters
- Lemon twist for garnish
Do you have a foodie friend of family member to shop for this Holiday Season? Here are some fun ideas!
Left Row from Top to Bottom:
Right Row from Top to Bottom:
You can’t have Hanukkah without rugelach (or rogaliki as they are known in Poland) and you can’t have Thanksgiving without pecan pie (although to be honest I’ve never been a fan). So in honor of today’s momentous Thanksgivukkah, let me present Pecan Pie Rugelach!
Growing up a Polish household, potato pancakes (placki ziemniaczane) were the comfort food I often craved. As an adult I now have a weakness for all forms of fried patties. See some of my recent favorites below!