Holiday survival guide
by Aaron Chatha
It’s gonna be a cold one. The roads are icy and our lawns are white. Reports on Nov. 23 pegged Calgary as the second-coldest city in the world. While this wasn’t actually true (it was the second-coldest city with an airport), we nearly broke Calgary’s own record for coldest day, which was -45 C on Feb. 4, 1893. Already, this season is off to a discouraging start. But fear not, as no matter how dark the days ahead may look, the Reflector’s handy-dandy survival guide will help you get through, hopefully with all your fingers and toes still attached.
Make your own holiday drinks
A healthy dose of alcohol and you can brace yourself for any situation. There are a ton of cocktail recipes out there, but here are our favourites for the holidays.
125 mL water 1/2 c. brown sugar 6 whole cloves 4 cinnamon sticks 1 orange, zested (use a very sharp knife to get only the orange
peel and none of the white pith) 2 bottles red wine (go ahead, use the cheap stuff) 4 oz port or brandy Remainder of orange, sliced (remove as much pith as possible)
Great for parties. Combine the non-alcoholic ingredients and let them simmer for a few minutes. Add the wine, port and orange and heat gently (do not boil) for 20 minutes to allow the flavours to mingle — much like your guests will. Strain the liquid into a heat-resistant punch bowl or jug and serve warm. A drink like this tells your guests you have class, that this is a mature party and you should be drinking and conversing for a least an hour before you begin stripping on the table.
Recipe courtesy of chickadvisor.com
1/3 oz grenadine 1/3 oz green crème de menthe 1/3 oz peppermint schnapps
Layer it right, in the exact order above, with the grenadine on top and the peppermint schnapps on the bottom, and you should have a shot that not only looks festive, but also tastes like a candy cane.
Recipe courtesy of thatsthespirit.com
3/4 oz lemon juice 3 or 4 ice cubes 3 tsp sugar 3 oz chilled cranberry herbal tea 2 oz orange juice
2 oz vodka
Place ice cubes in martini shaker and add all the ingredients. Then shake, shake, shake. Pour into two glasses. Standing under this red martini may not get you a kiss, but three or four glasses and a healthy helping of holiday spirit will.
Recipe courtesy of thatsthespirit.com
Red Hot Chocolate
1 oz Campari 2 oz brandy 3 oz milk or milk alternative 1/2 oz heavy cream (optional) 2 tsp chocolate chips
Put milk, cream and chocolate in a milk-frothing cup used for espresso. Froth milk as you would for cappuccino, or microwave the ingredients and proceed with next step. When milk is hot, remove frothing wand, and whisk or stir vigorously until chocolate is completely melted. Add Campari and brandy. Throw a marshmallow or cinnamon candy cane in there.This jolly hot chocolate is actually coloured red and will help stave off the cold, putting some rosy red into those cheeks.
Recipe courtesy of whattodrink.com
Build a rink in your backyard
You could get in the car and make the long drive to one of the constantly busy skating rinks in Calgary.
If that’s too much trouble, you could spend a few hundred bucks to buy one for yourself. For those of us low on gas and low on cash, but with ample backyard space to spare, there’s always the do-it-yourself method.
First off, you need a good foot of snow and a flat area to work with.
Then, mark your perimeter. If you’re handy with wood, line the rink with wooden panels.
Personally, I pile snow a few feet, or as high as I can, around the area I want for my rink.
Flatten the snow on the inside using snowshoes, heavy boots or even a toboggan and a few friends, and it should be flat in no time.Try to keep things level and wait for a cold night, which shouldn’t be too hard considering how early the sun sets these days.
Then take your hose and flood the rink. The perimeter you created should keep the water in there.
Try to keep an even spray so that you don’t get holes in the ice. If you use a sprinkler, be sure to come out and move it often. Get as much water as possible in there, you want a nice thick sheet of ice to skate on.
Repeat for two or three more nights. Take your time and make sure it’s ready before you start skating.
To maintain it, shovel wet snow off of it as soon as possible, as this can make your rink bumpy and unpleasant to skate on.Otherwise, lace up and enjoy.
Five uses for fruitcake
No one likes fruitcake. The bread is so stale it could be as old as the Earth and the actual fruits are more akin to coloured stones than anything edible. It’s a gift that you would perhaps give to your enemies, or people that are just really boring. In the nightmarish case that you receive one yourself, here are a few ideas for putting it to good use. Whatever you do, don’t eat it. No one likes fruitcake.
5. Use it to hold up your car while changing the tire. 4. Use as speed bumps to foil the neighbourhood drag racers.
3. Use instead of cement shoes. This Christmas, send your enemies to a watery grave in a more festive fashion.
2. Use it to replace the free weights when you work out.
1. OK, eat it. It is a food. There has to be someone out there who likes fruitcakes. Someone keeps baking them.
Make a vehicle emergency kit
• Bottled Water
• Food (Non-perishables
like energy bars)
• First aid kit
• Extra cell phone battery (we assume you carry your cell phone on you anyways)
• Emergency blanket • Jumper cables • Portable shovel & scraper
• Emergency lights, flares or a white sheet to put on your car to signal distress
• Extra clothing (change; especially if your clothes get wet)
• Gas (If your car runs out of fuel, you can use gas to start a fire while you wait for help)