Winter Brew

Looking towards the next month I know that the days will continue to shorten.  Luckily, December is a month filled with merriment and joy for Christians and Pagans alike.  As the days get colder, we decorate our homes and make time for dinner with friends and family.  The city too reflects our cheer as red bows, pine garlands, and bright lights cloak the city in merriment.

For me, the festivities culminate at the winter solstice.  A joyful time as we can welcome the growth of the sun and take comfort in knowing that the daylight hours will extend.  If I can manage, I like to wake up to see the sunrise on solstice morning.  I take a mug of coffee out to the lake, find a good bench, and watch the sun illuminate the city.  Our winter season in Chicago is long, but I take comfort through the months knowing that after the solstice each day becomes just a little bit longer than the day before.  

As I walked home from work the other day I stopped to pick up a few items to make a certain winter brew.  Something that will surely warm me and my friends through these upcoming winter months.  

This jar of spiced deliciousness takes 5 weeks to fully infuse so I recommend making it as soon as possible.  I confess that I should have planned it a bit better.  I was hoping to have the brew ready for drinking by the solstice.  Though of course, life tends to get in the way at times so I will need to wait till the very end of December to taste my first sip.  



This recipe is from the lifestyle blog Sidewalk Shoes



- 4 cups brandy
- 1 piece cinnamon stick
- 2 star anise
- 1 vanilla bean, sliced lengthwise
- 24 black peppercorns
- 4 navel oranges, chopped into large pieces


  1. Combine all ingredients in a large mason jar.  Cap it tightly and store in a cool dark place for two weeks.  Shake the jar daily.

  2. After the two weeks strain the brew through a fine mesh strainer or coffee filter.  Return the liquid to the jar and let it mellow for three weeks in a cool and dark place.

  3. Enjoy with friends throughout the winter.