Tuesday 7 December 2010

Brandy and Port

It's so quiet. Soft snow on top of a frozen underlayer blankets the ground, deadening sound. I can hear my ears ringing. The mountains on the mainland are partially obscured by snowclouds and falling snow. The low sun is a pale orange glow spreading out to touch the mountaintops.

The mallards are quite at home in this weather. They scoot, silently today, on the calm water near the shore, heads tucked tightly into bodies.

This weather makes my thoughts turn to brandy and port. It's 9.45am so I'm not intending to indulge right now. Maybe later. Brandy and port is a good ostentatious, christmassy, wintry drink. I defy you not to have your cockles warmed by it. It is redolent of an imagined past of Dickensian fireside good-cheer.

I make brandy and port using Spanish brandy (or more correctly Brandy de Jerez) rather than the traditional cognac. It has a cleaner, less cloying flavour.

If you have a proper fish-bowl-sized brandy glass in which to swirl it contemplatively, before putting it down gently in order to steeple your fingers, narrow your eyes and commence telling a bone-chilling, snow-encrusted ghost story then so much the better.

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