Holiday cocktails and appetizers and the concept of hygge (shrimp fritters and charred lemon gin sparklers).

Charred Lemon Gin Sparklers with Shrimp Fritters

So Thanksgiving happened, it’s now December, we’re moving very soon, and I may be feeling a wee bit stressed about it. The movers come next week, and I’ll be home on the packing day working while they box up all of our stuff. In the meantime we’re trying to get all of our things organized as best we can and cleaning everything as much as possible. We’re at the point where I’m simply anxious to be there so I can do things like quickly register my car and get a parking pass for the neighborhood as well as the more fun tasks of organizing all of our stuff and getting a few new pieces, but we still have a bit of a ways to go before we get to that stage.

Shrimp Fritters

In the meantime I’m squirreling away lots of inspirational design photos into my Evernote notebook, making lists of recipes (like this one) that would be fun to test out in our new-to-us kitchen, and making crappy drawings of where we want to lay out furniture superimposed onto the photos we have of the place. We won’t really have much time to decorate it for the holidays since we’re only going to arrive in the middle of the month, but in retrospect I think that might actually be better for me this year. A few weeks ago a friend on Facebook posted an article about the Danish concept of hygge (pronounced like HYU-gah even though I constantly want to say HIGH-gah and Michael corrects me). It doesn’t translate directly into English, but it’s meant to embody that good cheer that we all try to have around the holidays but the Danes treat it as a way of life to help handle the dreary, dark winters. From what I can gather it might be a sort of balance between self-care and togetherness—you don’t hibernate by yourself but you also don’t over-extend yourself when spending time with others. It’s an intriguing mindset to say the least, and I think it’s one I’m going to do my best to adopt instead of merely bemoaning the lack of natural light after 4 or 5PM every day. Not adorning my apartment with extremely seasonal decorations may make the transition a little easier because it won’t remind me that the duller, non-holiday wintertime is coming; instead, I can focus on making our place winter-ready. I want it to be a place that always has good food but also lends itself to lively discussion as well as peaceful introspection.

Charred Lemon Gin Sparkler

On Thanksgiving I tested out a cocktail recipe that would easily please a crowd no matter what the weather conditions outside, and you need to make it for yourself immediately if not sooner. (It is the beginning of the holiday party season, after all.) It’s one that can largely be prepared ahead of time but still has a bit of flair when assembling thanks to prosecco you add to each drink along with a sprig of rosemary. Michael calls it a phenomenally good version of a French 75, and I’m inclined to agree with him. I served it with shrimp fritters that I’ve made a few times before, though I made the mistake of setting out the snacks before the drinks because by the time I went to take a photo of them both the fritters had largely left the platter.

It’s definitely a hygge drink: a bit fizzy, extremely sippable, and best savored while chatting in excellent company.

The cocktail recipe came from Serious Eats and you can find it here, while the shrimp fritters recipe can be found here at Saveur. I’ll keep you posted on how well I do with hygge–either I will suddenly be a more at peace person, or I’ll still be grumbling about nascent winter light.

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