Only the Best

Did you know that there are ordinances in New York City governing when a building must turn on the heat?

I once called 311 about this, many years ago, when I had just moved into a new apartment. I know, it sounds like a punchline, and, yet, I’m embarrassed to admit, it’s totally true.

For the record, here’s the official law:

Heat (During the heating season, October 1 through May 31)

  • Between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., heat must register at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit when the outside temperature falls below 55 degrees

  • Between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., heat must register at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit when the outside temperature falls below 40 degrees.

See? I supply you with recipes and lessons about New York City law.

Only the best for you, my friends. Only the best.

And, so, once again I find myself in that awkward part of the season when it’s not quite cold enough for sweaters but too warm for heat. I’ve taken to walking around my apartment in my ugly—but very, very warm—polka dot slippers. And, if it doesn’t get warmer soon, or cold enough to warrant heat within my building, I may break out my tie dye snuggie (It was a gift from a friend, I swear.)

This is a very long way of saying that I think the temperature in my apartment may, in fact, be colder than outside. Naturally, this makes me long for the blissful days of summer and early fall.

Although the weather is long gone, I’m pleased to say that, this year, I planned ahead so that I could preserve the flavors. And, while I haven’t attempted canning, yet, mostly due to a fear that I’m accident prone enough to afflict my friends with botulism, there is something that I can do:

Infuse alcohol.

I’m operating under the theory that alcohol kills most everything. Except flavor. So, now I have grand plans—Singapore Slings with sour cherry gin, Concord Grape Cocktails. There may be come limoncello in my future, too. It’s too late to get the sour cherries this year, but concord grapes are still in season. And, be honest, doesn’t Concord grape vodka seem so much more appealing that jam, or even focaccia.

Actually, on second thought, get enough grapes to make the perfect happy hour cocktail and snack.

Infused Spirits
Technique from About.com

This is more of a method than a recipe, and, as such infinitely adaptable. My biggest suggestion is to use cheaper, more mildly flavored spirits while you’re trying new flavors so that, in the event that they don’t work out, you haven’t spent a fortune.

Concord Grape Infused Vodka

750 ml vodka
1 cup fresh concord grapes

Crush the grapes and place them at the bottom of an infusion jar. Top with vodka, and allow to infuse in a cool, dark place for 5-7 days. Shake the jar periodically as the vodka is infusing. Once the infusion is ready, strain the concord grapes from it, using either cheese cloth or a coffee filter. Return the vodka to a serving container.

Sour Cherry Infused Gin

750 ml gin
1 cup fresh sour cherries

Pit the sour cherries and place them at the bottom of an infusion jar. Top with gin, and allow to infuse in a cool, dark place for 5-7 days. Shake the jar periodically as the vodka is infusing. Once the infusion is ready, strain the concord grapes from it, using either cheese cloth or a coffee filter. Return the gin to a serving container.

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