The White Christmas

By • December 19, 2010 6 Comments

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Author Notes: Here's a sweet treat I made for the first time recently, when I had about 1/2 cup of orange-flavored syrup left over from making candied orange peel. I've been known to stir a bit of homemade almond syrup into a mug of hot milk, with a shot of rum or bourbon, late in the evening, or when I've just come back from a hike on a cold day in the winter. This is just another variation. Enjoy . . . . and you'll be dreaming of this. - AntoniaJamesAntoniaJames

Food52 Review: I expected this drink to be very sweet and rich. Instead, it was creamy, lightly sweetened, and a very grown-up drink. The orange, cinnamon, vanilla, and mace come through with a delicate fragrance that is reminiscent of Christmas. I made one drink with whole milk and the other with non-fat milk. I added just enough syrup to the whipped cream to sweeten it slightly, and put a generous dollop in each cup. The finished drink was a little boozy for me, so I added an additional 1/2 teaspoon of Frangelico to each cup, something you could play with. For me, that extra nutty flavor balanced out the rum perfectly. For those who want a lighter drink, the version made with non-fat milk held its own beautifully and seemed only slightly less creamy than the whole-milk version. Both were delicious and will be part of my future holiday celebrations!SwoonMySpoon


Serves 2

  • Peel of one orange (See instruction below.)
  • Peel of one tangerine (See note below.)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 4-inch piece of vanilla bean
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • Scant 1/8 teaspoon ground mace
  • 16 ounces whole milk
  • 2 ounces dark rum, or more to taste (Good bourbon is also nice in a drink like this!)
  • 1 teaspoon Frangelico or other hazelnut liqeuer
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream (optional)
  • Ground mace for dusting the whipped cream, if using
  1. MAKE THE SYRUP: NB -- this makes 4 - 8 times the amount of syrup you need to make two glasses of this, depending on how sweet you like your hot drinks to be.
  2. Carefully peel the orange and tangerine with a sharp paring knife, removing as little of the white pith as possible. Cut the peel into one-inch pieces.
  3. Put the peels and the sugar in a small heavy saucepan with one cup of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Let it simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes.
  4. Turn the heat off and add the vanilla bean, the cinnamon stick and 1/8 teaspoon of mace. Partially cover, and allow the syrup to sit for at least another forty minutes. (If you let it sit much longer, however, be aware that the cinnamon and vanilla may be disproportionately strong.)
  5. Strain the syrup, reserving the peels and vanilla bean for another use, if you like. You can scrape the seeds from the bean into the syrup at this point. I don't, because the vanilla seems too strong relative to the citrus peel, at least for my taste.
  6. Ten minutes before serving the drinks, put a small metal bowl and the beaters of a hand mixer into the freezer to chill for about five minutes.
  7. Scald the milk.
  8. Whip the cream with a few drops of syrup.
  9. Put a tablespoon of syrup into each glass. Then divide and add the Frangelico, rum and hot milk. Stir gently. Taste, and add more syrup or Frangelico, if you think the drink would be better that way.
  10. Top with the whipped cream and dust with ground mace.
  11. Enjoy!!

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