2016 was a tough one.
For so many of us, a year that started with so much hope and promise seemed to quickly spiral out of control. Brussels, Mosul, Nice, Lahore, and Orlando. An epidemic of police shootings. Retaliation in my hometown of Dallas. Brexit. The loss of David Bowie, Merle Haggard, Leonard Cohen, and Harper Lee. Elie Wiesel, his wisdom and his warnings, gone. The election. Aleppo. One hit after another left us in a collective state of disequilibrium, looking to the heavens and to each other for answers, understanding, and relief.
I’d like to say history will look back on 2016 as a time of suffering, but also a time of renewed respect and collaboration. A time when empathy was the emotion de riguer. But I find myself, generally an optimist, entirely doubtful of this. I’m afraid 2016 will be remembered as a time when we rapidly careened toward lows I’d like to never repeat.
But I don’t want to lose hope. I can’t. It’s not practical and it’s not productive. Even though we’ve lost so much and made mistakes that still terrify me, I know nothing will get better if we don’t pull together and recommit to listening, learning, and doing what we can to help. 2016 won’t go down as the year we figured out how to put others before ourselves, but I pray 2017 will.
So here’s a warm cup of comfort for these last cold days of 2016.
May the new year bring peace, joy, and love to you and yours. And may be we all remember it’s in our power to make it happen.
Deep red wine combines with rich, dark chocolate and a subtle hint of cinnamon for an elevated take on a comforting classic that’s sure to warm your hands and your heart.
Spiced Red Wine Hot Chocolate
Apple a Day original, inspired by many recipes
6 oz. semisweet or dark chocolate, finely chopped
3/4 c. fruity red wine, such as Merlot, Cabernet, or Beaujolais
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. dark brown sugar
1 1/2 c. milk (at least 2%)
up to 1/4 c. water, if desired
1. In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate into the red wine, whisking constantly. Whisk in cinnamon and brown sugar and bring to a simmer.
2. Add in milk and bring to bring to a simmer. Whisk frequently until mixture comes to temperature, approximately five minutes. Taste and, if desired, thin with water.
3. Ladle into mugs and enjoy.
Yield: 2 generous or three regular servings