Wine Night: Independent Spirits, Inc. in Edgewater

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Neighborhood exploring is easily my favorite thing to do. Now that the weather has gotten nice enough to be outside for more than the time it takes the dog to do her thing and go back in, Sarah and I have really been spending time getting to know our neighborhood. Exploring boutiques, eating at local restaurants, visiting small pet stores, etc.! It was thus, we discovered Independent Spirits, Inc.

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The little boutique is WONDERFUL. My adult beverages of choice are wine, beer, and whiskey (specifically single malt scotch whiskey from the Highlands). Independent Spirits, Inc. specializes in two of those- wine and whiskey. Needless to say, finding this place is both seriously exciting and incredibly dangerous.

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We popped in to the store after our sushi date night at Indie Cafe. This place is right next door! What better way to end a date night than with a nice bottle of wine at home relaxing? So we poked out heads in and discovered not only a glorious selection but a simply beautiful interior.

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The wine is sorted by country and type. Want a merlot from the US? Look for the map of the States then find your Merlot. Whiskey was sorted by type of whiskey. I quickly found the Scotch section. The one thing I wish they’d done is sort the single malt stuff by region. Glenlivet and Laphroaig are very different based entirely upon region.

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We settled on a nice rich merlot from the US to take home, broke out some glasses, and settled in for a movie to end our evening.

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Independent Spirits, Inc. hosts tastings periodically. I fully intend to pop in for one. Prepare for that post.

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Homemade Hot Toddy

Chiberia has returned and it’s more powerful than ever. (That’s a complete lie. It’s still warmed than it was last year this time) And with that intense cold comes an intense need to warm up fast. I only recently discovered the true wonder of the hot toddy and decided that with the cold, it was high time to make this at home.

Now before I get into the recipe, I need you to remember a few things: 1) I don’t have any whole spices. There’s no room in this tiny Chicago apartment kitchen to keep all those jars plus a grinder. So we have things already ground. I recommend doing this with whole spices instead. 2) for the same reasons, we keep lemon juice rather than fresh lemons. juice takes up less space.

With those disclaimers out of the way and this now becoming a judgement free zone, I give you my homemade hot toddy!

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You will need:

  • cloves
  • cinnamon
  • lemon
  • hot water
  • whiskey
  • tea

When making this, I went at it as a really fancy cup of tea and made it accordingly. That means the hot water was the very last ingredient and gets poured on top of everything.

So first, put the kettle on. Then sprinkle in some dashes of clove and cinnamon. You don’t need a lot. Just some.

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Follow that with your preferred amount of lemon. I like a bit more. If you just like the lemon that happens when you add a slice of lemon, then you don’t need as much. I think I used about a tablespoon.

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Next your whiskey. I’m using scotch just because that’s what I prefer.

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Drop in your tea bag. I’m using my favorite English Breakfast tea- Fortnum and Mason in Piccadilly (London). It’s quite expensive and, thus, only a treat for me but what a treat it is.

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Fill the rest of your mug with hot water and let it steep for however long your tea should steep. I steep my Breakfast teas at 3-4 minutes.

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Sarah went a different route with hers and swapped the lemon with lime and the whiskey with spiced rum. I didn’t get a sip but it smelled quite nice. Also came out much darker than my lemon and scotch.

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What are your favorite ways to warm up from the cold? Are there any winter cocktails that you just can’t live without? Share in the comments!