What a strange winter this has been! Just last week I was walking with my son to the bus stop, and we passed by flocks of robins congregating in the thickets that line the little creeks that meander along the road. It’s not terribly early for robins–indeed we are more than halfway to spring–but still it was an odd yet still welcome sign that winter’s grip will soon loosen. Then, this weekend we had the coldest snap yet, with temperatures going down to -12 (no wind chill factor included!). And now, we are to have a balmy high of around almost fifty degrees today! Fifty degree temperature swings are odd indeed.
When the temperatures dip low however, my official drink this winter is the port toddy. It was one of those things I made up, and then googled it to find that I didn’t make it up at all. Of course not! I’m sure people have been drinking it for as long as port has been around. It’s delicious and warming, and it makes one feel luxe. Pour a good glug of port into a glass, add hot water to it (you know, water that you just boiled and then let it sit to stop boiling), a slice or two of citrus, a spoonful of honey (although it’s fine without), and this is crucial: a few fennel seeds. I have no recommendations for a port to buy–I prefer a tawny port, but I use an inexpensive ruby port at your local should be fine for this application.