Winter can be dull and dark but it comes to life when the snow falls like soft, cotton stars, drawing us outdoors to snowshoe, ski or make snow angels. As my family spends snowy winter weekends in Vermont, one of the traditions that comes with a fresh new layer of snow is making Maple Syrup Snow Candy.
Heat up real maple syrup (not the corn syrup version, please) on the stove until it reaches a soft boil, about 235 degrees. Put on your boots and head outside to where the snow is thick and clean over grass and drizzle the hot syrup over the snow in a lacy pattern. Give it about 8-10 minutes to cool and harden, then lift this gooey, delicious treat off the snow and into your mouth. This is nature’s taffy.
Winter also means a crackling blaze in the fireplace, the perfect apres ski location for reading, board games and a bold glass of your favorite libation. One that warms the palate and the soul, is a glass of Smoking Bishop Punch, made famous by Charles Dickens. The city of Porto, along the Douro River in Portugal, lends its name to the main ingredient of the aforementioned cocktail, Ruby Port, which when heated with the juice of clove-studded oranges and other eastern spices, presents a concoction for all looking for exotic complexity in every sip. As you can see in the photo, this is a perfect cocktail for a party as it's festive and delicious! Serve warm to keep you toasty.