Shackleton nights

I’ve seen more than my fair share of winter this year. I went down to Patagonia in the austral autumn (April) and stayed there until July, when I went on to Australia. I visited briefly with summer in Hawaii and Vancouver — and then headed up to Nuuk, Greenland. I returned to Seattle in the middle of October — just as the stormy, rainy weather returned. And now it’s dark early — and cold a lot of the time.  But I’m back in the same city as Alene — and so I don’t care about the weather. Besides, the dark and cold of winter allow for enjoyment of one of life’s greatest pleasures — a hot beverage spiked with booze.

A chai latte is helped along with rum. A regular espresso latte benefits from Canadian whiskey. And hot chocolate likes to be paired with bourbon — although just about any liquor goes with chocolate. And Yukon Jack is pretty darned good by itself.

Alene was a bit envious of me and Allen back in the dog days of the Seattle summer, which was awfully hot at times. While she was going through five trays of ice a day, Allen and I were enjoying rum-spiked cocoa as a winter storm raged outside.

That feeling of snuggly, happy warmth as one enjoys winter treats by a fire is known by many names. In Danish it is called hygge — and I think we mentioned that in a post a few months ago.

We don’t really have a name for it in English — even though the journals of the Shackleton party suggest that the men fantasized about winter food and drink comforts constantly. So Alene and I propose naming it after him — as in, we’re having a Shackleton night in — and going to bed with a comforting warmth in the belly.

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