The Old-Fashioned Lantern: An NYE Cocktail

Just in time for your NYE celebrations, here’s our first cocktail recipe from Emily Andrews, Hannah’s best friend. Emily and her husband Ian are some of the best at throwing a good party, so we knew that they’d be the perfect guest-posters for this recipe. We hope you enjoy this smokey, spicy cocktail this New Years Eve as you’re kissing the new year in. Happy 2018!

About this time four years ago, I landed at the Spokane International Airport and stepped into the Pacific Northwest for the first time in my life. I had come to celebrate New Year’s with my boyfriend’s family, and to meet them for the first time.

Ian and I had not been dating very long – not even a year – but we were already talking about marriage. He and I are nothing if not tempestuous.

I was extremely nervous as I waited for my suitcase at baggage claim. I knew there was a good chance he would propose that week, but everything was so uncertain and I carried all the pressures and insecurities of being a senior entering my last semester of college like the proverbial monkey on my back. So many of my future plans hanged on what would happen here in this alien outlying territory of the Louisiana Purchase, and for heaven’s sake, what if his family didn’t even like me?!

The days of my scheduled trip ticked by. The Andrews were as warm and delightful as could be, although I might have surprised them with the churlish bent of my Scotch-Irish ancestry. I think Ian decided to marry me only after he found out I enjoyed drinking whiskey straight.

My expectations dwindled. He wasn’t going to propose this week.

So I was completely unassuming when Ian asked one night if he could take me on a walk through his parent’s property. We passed under the bright starts of the Washington night sky until Ian stooped at the base of a pine tree to pick up an old fashioned lantern and light it. He said they kept it there for when it got dark in the woods.

I believed him. I wasn’t initiated in the ways of the PNW. What did I know?

To make a long story short, he had fixed up a tent in the middle of the forest and laid out a picnic dinner for us there in front of an elaborate wood stove. He proposed. I cried. It was all the worst kinds of warm and fuzzy.

And here we are four years later, back in the place where it began. After a lot of cross country travel, we’ve bought a new home in Spokane and I am officially a PNWer myself, though Ian still makes fun of me for thinking all PNWers hide lanterns in the woods.
They say every home needs a house cocktail, and this is what Ian came up with for us. It bites like the pines of the PNW, smells sweet like the wood stove where we got engaged, and punches every bit like a feisty Andrews.

I hope that as you enjoy it, we may all find rest from any fears we have about the future in the New Year and joy in whatever adventures 2018 brings our way.


The Old-Fashioned Lantern


  • Grand Marnier
  • Old Forester Bourbon
  • Cinnamon Brown Sugar Simple
  • Cinnamon Sticks
  • Orange Rind


  • 2 Rocks Glasses
  • 2 oz. Jigger
  • 1 oz. Jigger
  • 3/4 oz. Jigger
  • A Lighter

Cinnamon Brown Sugar Simple Recipe:

Standard ratio for simple syrup: 1 cup of Extra Dark Brown Sugar to 1 cup of Water. In this case, however, add 2 cinnamon sticks. Heat until sugar is dissolved. Refrigerate.

Using the lighter, set one end of a cinnamon stick on fire. This could take a second: be persistent. Once it is lit, upend one of the rocks glasses and place it over the top of the lit stick, so that the smoke fills the glass.

Fill other glass with ice. Add 3 oz. of Bourbon, 1 oz. Grand Marnier, and ¾ oz. Brown Sugar Simple. Stir briskly until chilled. Then, carefully but quickly, strain the mixture into the smoked glass over one large ice sphere. Snap and squeeze the orange rind over the cocktail, and drop it into the top as a garnish. Enjoy.


Kinderpunsch on St. Nikolaus Day

Happy St. Nikolaus Day!

St. Nikolaus and I had a rocky start to our friendship. In southern German and Austrian homes, St. Nikolaus comes for a visit, bringing gifts in exchange for songs and kisses.

My first encounter with him at our door was when I was two. My poor father, who was in fact the man underneath the St. Nikolaus costume, still tells the story about how “pure terror” filled little Essie’s eyes when he came in the door. Even with his fake white beard removed, this is still the best picture my mom was able to snap:

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In case you’re worried I always rewarded my parents’ efforts to create special traditions and memories for their children with fear and ingratitude, I offer these pictures that later years were more successful and smile-filled:

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However, since I don’t live with my parents anymore and I have yet to convince Dave, my husband, to dress up as an Armenian Bishop, our St. Nikolaus Day celebration will be more low key. It’ll include some popcorn, Kinderpunsch, and cozy Advent candles.

Kinderpunsch is a hot beverage served in steaming mugs at German and Austrian Christmas markets. This non-alcoholic alternative to Glühwein is a mixture of cider, juice and tea.

Three years ago, Dave and I spent Christmas overseas with my Austrian relatives and visited as many of the markets as possible. We made a point to buy a Punsch at each one and kept the mugs as souvenir. Every Advent I love unpacking our little mug collection and making this Kinderpunsch recipe as a cozy tradition.


  • Ingredients:
    • 1 cup orange juice
    • 1 cup apple cider
    • 1 cup water
    • 1 cinnamon stick
    • 1 bag hibiscus tea
    • 1/2 tbsp honey
  • Instructions:
    1. Heat juice, cider, water and cinnamon to a simmer.
    2. Add tea bags for 2-3 minutes.
    3. Remove tea bags.
    4. Add honey.
    5. Allow to simmer for at least 10 minutes. You can just keep it on the stove quietly simmering while it fills your home with amazing smells.
    6. To serve, fill into cozy Christmas mugs and sip with loved ones, preferably with a lit candle or two or ten.
  • Serves: 2 (I highly recommend tripling or quadrupling this in a huge vat and enjoying it every evening this week)