Hearthside Happy Hour: The Sleigh Ride


It started with a text message, with a link to a food blog I hadn’t visited before. It continued with a trip to the store where the prime ingredient was on sale for a killer price, and concluded with an impromptu dinner around our little dining room table. The Sleigh Ride was born.


I’m a cocktail kind of girl, especially in the winter time. Nothing says cozy like a tummy warming mixed drink, especially a hot toddy. Warm adult beverages have the tendency to freak some people out – I’m not sure if it’s because they are usually of the apple cider or hot cocoa based persuasion, or what – but in my family, and in my house, a toddy is the cure for what ails you. And when we’re sick, there’s no cold medicine better than a toddy.

This is a deeply warming drink, just a hint of sweet, and the warm gingery goodness is perfect after dinner when everyone is sitting around the Christmas tree in a holiday haze. This will also make one just sleepy enough to turn in for a long winter’s nap and a great night’s sleep, because who are we fooling here, it’s a healthy dose of booze.

And finally – rye. Bourbon and whiskey drinkers, have you ever had the great pleasure of drinking rye? Rye whiskey is made with mash of at least 51% rye in order to be called such; we are fans of the Bulleit Rye, which is 95% rye. It’s zesty and peppery and delicious, and plays so well with both ginger and lemon. Our band of buddies discovered a deep love of rye a couple of summers ago (where we spent an afternoon mixing it with ginger beer, lime and salt on the rocks and devouring every drop), and haven’t looked back. My first love of brown liquor was and will always be bourbon, but rye is catching up fast.

And so, this evening when you’re done with your chores and baking and shopping and wrapping, make yourself a nice hot Sleigh Ride, and sink into your favorite chair for a spell. I won’t even make you resist the urge to sing yourself a little Christmas carol: Just hear those sleigh bells jingle-ing / Ring ting tingle-ing too / Come on, it’s lovely weather / For a sleigh ride together with you….


The Sleigh Ride
Makes 1

2-3 thin slices of ginger
1.5 oz. rye whiskey
2 t. honey
a nice lemon wedge (use a Meyer lemon, if you can get your hands on one)

Heat a cup of hot water and the ginger slices in a pan on the stove until boiling (scale this up, will ya – you’re going to want another I promise). While the water heats, combine the rye and the lemon in your favorite cheery mug. Pour hot water over rye and lemon, holding back the ginger. Stir in honey, find your favorite chair, and enjoy.

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