From a little spark may burst a flame.
-Dante Alighieri

This afternoon I’ll be getting on a plane and, poof, just like that, part one of my Christmas vacation will be over. To prepare for this trip, I’ve been running around madly, considering several important things: how will I fit the ice cream maker into my carry-on bag? Why in the world does stupid BayPorter stop running at 10 p.m. from Oakland Airport? Where are the keys to my apartment? And the list goes on….

I’ve also had some family business to attend to: setting up online banking for my mother, who, for some reason that escapes me, continues living in the Stone Age and receives only paper bills, going to dinner with my dad, stepmother and brother, then shopping and eating out with my grandparents…But I suppose a vacation wouldn’t be a vacation if it weren’t jam-packed with pleasant activities. And believe me when I say that I’m not even being ironic.

To top it all off, while preparing a wonderful breakfast casserole that a dear friend who blogs here made for me a few summers ago when I was visiting her and her husband in Maine, the blade of the very sharp knife met my formerly-considered-to-be-useless left thumb and, well, the only word that comes to mind is ouch. Another thought that crossed my mind in the aftermath was that the mini-chopper is now my best friend forever; we will be inseparable.

Given all this, you might start to understand why I decided to make a cocktail–a Holy Nun– for myself, my mom and my brother last night. It’s everything a lover of hot drinks, hot toddies in particular, could ask for. It’s hard to believe that, before yesterday, I didn’t even know that this cocktail existed, but google really is a beautiful thing. 🙂

It all started when I opened the fridge and saw the distinctive shape of the bottle of Frangelico (in case you never noticed, to pay homage to the monks that used to distill the hazelnuts in the Piedmont region of Northern Italy, the bottle is cleverly–and perhaps creepily– shaped like a monk’s habit), which my mother really loves. While it wouldn’t have been my first choice in terms of alcohol, I started to wonder what I could make with it because, here in good old Pennsylvania, a Quaker state, it’s not like you can just get in your car and run to the local grocery store or BevMo! to get a bottle of whatever your little heart desires. In PA, you can buy beer only at beer distributors and select supermarkets (and when I say select, I mean deluxe), wines and other liquors at certified wine stores (these are usually close to shopping centers) and, in all other cases, at the State Store. For those of you living in civilization and have no clue what I’m talking about, the State Store is otherwise known as the bane of every Pennsylvanian’s existence and, according to the governor at the time that Prohibition was repealed, its very purpose was “to “discourage the purchase of alcoholic beverages by making it as inconvenient and expensive as possible.” To this day, this statement remains true. Talk about the Stone Age….

My options being limited, Frangelico it was. And then I added a few cloves and a tablespoon of honey. After that, a few tiny wedges of lemon peel (because using a knife is now traumatic, they were tiny). Finally, I added hot water.

It was just what I needed after an oh so long day. I also must confess that, due to my status as a lapsed Catholic, I really loved that this drink was called the Hot Nun (I’m not sure why, given the liquor’s history, it’s nun and not monk, but perhaps I’m asking too many unnecessary questions). Even without such a perplexing, yet fun name, it would still be a pretty amazing cocktail, a nice companion when the weather is frightfully cold; after all, it’s basically a hazelnut hot toddy! Once I return to civilization, Frangelico is clearly going to have to become a permanent member of my liquor cabinet because this, my friends, is a keeper!

Hot Nun

Yields 1 piping hot snifter

Recipe courtesy of and slightly adapted from Drinksmixer

1 1/2 – 2 oz. Frangelico
1 Tbsp. honey
3 cloves
Several wedges of lemon peel (adjust to taste)
Hot water

-Put water on to boil.
-In the meantime, pour the Frangelico into a snifter.
-Add the honey, cloves and lemon wedges.
-Add the hot water, nearly filling the glass.
-Stir slightly and then enjoy!

One thought on “Holy Cocktail!

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