The Twelve Drink of Christmas: Volume 2, Drink 4

It’s the fourth day of Christmas and here I am under the weather. Good grief! The boy had a stomach bug and I thought I had escaped it, but in the middle of the night it hit me. Trying to look on the bright side and make a connection to the holidays, I could argue that an upset stomach is part of the season on some level. What with all the rich foods and opportunity for overindulgence that marks the holidays of many of us, but this is a bit much. My grandma used to give me peppermint to settle my stomach, so with a nod toward those home remedies, won’t you join me now as we stand and make the Peppermint Patty.

How’s that for a tenuous segue? Let’s be honest, I am not on my best game today. I hope you will forgive the less than stellar effort and remember that it’s the thought that counts. This one comes to use from Coleen Graham over at The Spruce Eats. It captures the spirit of the candy that inspired it and takes its place among classic chocolate mint drinks, like the Grasshopper or the Peppermint Martini. In fact, if you use the green hued versions of creme de menthe instead of schnapps, this one is going to look just like a Grasshopper. The use of a cream liqueur does give this one some interest. Let’s make it and see how things turn out.

Grab your tins and pop in 2 ounces of chocolate vodka, I actually went with some Stolichnaya infused with roasted cacao nibs; 3/4 of an ounce of cream liquor, I chose Rumchata; and 1/2 an ounce of peppermint schnapps. Add some artisanal ice and give it a good shake to “Christmastime is Here” by the Vince Guaraldi Trio till chilled. Double strain into a rocks glass, if you have a festive one painted by your partner, all the better. Add some whipped topping and garnish with a York Peppermint Patty.

It’s sweet, it’s creamy, it’s pepperminty fresh and it is a bit much for me, at least in my current condition. The wife loved it though. The flavors blend nicely with that hint of chocolate making a nice counterpoint to the peppermint schnapps. I do love the way that the cream liqueur adds a smoothness to this one, reminiscent of an actual peppermint patty.

Honestly, when I hear Peppermint Patty, I don’t think of candy, I think of Peanuts. Being of a certain age, how could you not? Which is perfect for todays drink because the Peanuts Christmas Special has been a holiday staple my entire life. It premiered in 1965, well before me, and has been entertaining kids and adults alike ever since. Way back in those pre on-demand days when I was one of those kids, I just loved that I got to watch a cartoon at night. As I got older I kept watching, often trying to figure out how it ever got made in the first place. It is an interesting take to open with seasonal depression as the subject. Charlie Brown himself says “I just don’t understand Christmas I guess. I like getting presents and sending Christmas cards and decorating trees and all that, but I’m still not happy.” In a plot twist that could only be written by folks who had never produced amateur theatricals, he decides to cheer himself up by directing the children’s Christmas play, with the expected amount of success. Everything goes wrong for Charlie as he tries to escape the commercialism that he feels is ruining everything. His friends don’t get it, he persists. Of course, everyone eventually comes around for a happy ending with the true meaning of the season shining through, all tied up with a bow. I do love the moment when they decide to help him deal with things in his way, propping up the little tree and taking care of their friend. That decision is the real moment when they come together and get the true meaning of the season.

That’s what it is all about, taking care of each other. Not just during the holidays, but all the time. We all deal with things in different ways. Some folks are excited to see the tree go up, looking forward to this time with family and friends; others can’t wait to close out the year and get a new beginning. It always reminds me of a poem, by my friend Maggi.

Time has two hands,
One that sweeps out the past to make room for the future,
One that clutches to preserve the past.

One hand is moved by the brain,
The other by the heart.
Both mean well.

Margaret Britton Vaughn. Poet Laureate of Tennessee

That hit me hard the first time I read it and it stays with me to this day. The idea that things can be at cross-purposes and yet, both mean well. So this season, take care of each other, find some grace in your life and share it with those who need it. It’s nothing new, all the old stuff still works. Hold doors for people, say please and thank you, return your cart, you know, basic decency. Most importantly, take the time to see people as your fellow humans, with their foibles and struggles, doing their best to get along. That’s the important bit, to really see people. If you can do that, you are most of the way there already. Some folks are excited to celebrate the holidays, some are struggling…both mean well. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay festive, my friends.