Along the Grapevine

Whisky Sumac Hot Toddy

23 Comments

It is still winter here in SE Ontario, not much happening on the foraging front – the landscape looks like a white desert – except for the odd oasis of red staghorn sumac.

Image

I can’t imagine either the winter or the sumac will be around much longer, but with nothing else around I ventured across snow dunes in search of food. The berries aren’t quite as red as they were in the summer, but they are still tasty and easy to harvest. Once the rain starts, they will lose much of their flavour, and I expect finally disappear to make room for new growth. At least, I hope so.

I made another batch of dried sumac and a few cups of sumac juice – which incidentally makes a lovely hot tea on these cold afternoons, and now that I think of them as a desert fruit, the tea tastes very much like red date tea. But as a recipe for Angie’s Fiesta Friday, I wanted to turn it into a festive drink – and I had to make it hot to counter the bitter cold we are still experiencing.

Image

The recipe is very simple, but as tasty as any whisky cocktail I have had in a bar – just a lot less expensive. I used Canadian rye, but whatever you use, I would not mix a complex and highly flavoured whiskey. I decided on this recipe because, not only is it cold, but many people are fighting off flus and colds, and what better remedy than a hot toddy with honey and ginger!

Whisky Sumac Hot Toddy

For the syrup:

1 1/2 cup sumac juice

1 inch of fresh ginger, sliced

1 heaping Tbsp honey

Mash the ginger with a pestle in the pot. Add the sumac juice and heat. Add the honey and simmer for about five minutes. If you like it sweeter, add more honey.

For the toddy

1/2 cup sumac syrup

1 1/2 ounces whisky

1/4 tsp angostura bitters

Pour the whisky into a glass or mug. Strain the hot sumac syrup into it and add the angostura bitters. Stir and serve.

I served this with freshly popped popcorn, flavoured with oil, salt and sumac powder. The syrup is also very good on its own if you are not up for the whisky hot toddy.

Image

Image

Author: Hilda

I am a backyard forager who likes to share recipes using the wild edibles of our area.

23 thoughts on “Whisky Sumac Hot Toddy

  1. Pingback: Fiesta Friday #7 and Divorced Eggs | The Novice Gardener

  2. I haven’t encountered sumac yet, but if I do, I would love to try this!

    Like

  3. Thanks for visiting. I think the sumac powder would be easier to find. I should try to make a syrup from that and see how it is.

    Like

  4. Another excellent idea for sumac. And I was thinking of getting rid of my patch. They do get wild. Their roots travel far and wide, too! Maybe I’ll keep just a small patch, seeing that they can be very useful. Thanks, Hilda!

    Like

  5. Thanks for commenting. I know what you mean about the sumac. We had to cut down a huge patch. I think you get three bushes for every root, and of course the seeds spread terribly. I probably pull 50 or so from my flower garden every year. A plant that persistent you have to admire.

    Like

  6. I’m a wee bit jealous of all your snow, Hilda. We’re going to hit 80 degrees here this weekend, and I’m just not ready. We barely had a winter this year!

    Like

  7. I think it is quite beautiful tool I just hope I can get some skiing in before the snow disappears. It has been too cold most of the time so far.

    Like

  8. Another good idea of using sumac! Love the winter photo!

    Like

    • Thanks so much. Just looked through your blog and love the Russian recipes. Some of my recipes are inspired by Russian cooking (e.g. grape borodinski bread). Look forward to trying some of yours.

      Like

  9. I’ve never used sumac. You have me intrigued!! This just sounds so perfect for these cold days that we’re having here in Niagara Falls!! 🙂

    Like

    • Thanks for visiting and commenting. The nice thing about the sumac drink is you can have it hot now, or super cold when the weather heats up. You must have lots of it where you live I would think.

      Like

  10. Hilda, I am intrigued by this sumac plant and your endless creativity in using it all! As I said before, weeks ago, that I have never made anything with sumac. Now I really must find out where to get sumac juice so I can make this whiskey drink.

    Like

    • Thanks for your interest in this. I really do seem to be on a mission to bring sumac into the mainstream of cooking. If you don’t have access to the plant, probably only the powder is available so I will see if I can make a drink with that – very soon I hope.

      Like

  11. I’ve only seen sumac powder, not juice or syrup. An going to look for them now that I’ve seen your wonderful sounding toddy! What a beautiful drink for Fiesta Friday! 🙂

    Like

  12. Thanks for the comment. As for availability of syrup, I made my own and the recipe is on my blog. I have only seen powder in the stores, but am going to try making a syrup with that and will post it if I succeed. If you have access to any fresh sumac, the syrup and powder are very easy to make.

    Like

  13. I love the way you are using sumac in so many of your recipes – you have some great ideas and recipes – thanks for sharing 🙂

    Like

  14. I’d happily volunteer to come and pick your sumac 😉
    Over here, I have a stash of elderberry cordial that has been making particularly pleasant hot toddies, for when I have had a cold. We haven’t had any day this winter when temperatures reached zero, even

    Like

    • If you are ever in the Napanee area let me know and I’ll show you all the sumac you could ever hope for. For myself, I must find some elderberries in the area – I’m sure there are some being neglected.

      Like

  15. Your really got sumach fruits in your garden? How great is that – I know only the powder that is sold in oriental shops which is great, but I can imagine that the whole fruits are much more intense and refined. Lucky you – your syrup and hot drink sound great, too.

    Like

  16. Thanks for visiting. Yes, I do find the fruit, which is easy to identify, pick and preserve, very useful indeed. I will continue to experiment with it until the snow disappears and I find other fish to fry.

    Like

  17. Tasty and interesting looking drink. My only experience with sumac is as a garnish for hummus. Your recipe puts it in a whole other light!
    By the way, thanks for following!

    Like

  18. Likewise. Sumac is so plentiful here, and so useful in cooking, yet we only use small amounts imported from the Middle East. I am trying to change that if at all possible. I dried sumac, and used in za’atar and other recipes. Perhaps it doesn’t grow where you are. Maybe yours comes from the Middle East too.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s