It’s finally time. December 21st marks the Winter Solstice and consequently the shortest day of the year. At Captain and Clark, our prime directive is to celebrate all parts of life as we voyage along our journey of self discovery. This life event is an excellent chance to do so. As the sun rises on the 22nd winter will have officially begun. Cultures around the world celebrate Winter Solstice and celebrate the return of the sun, and with it, life. Some of you might be wondering, “What is Winter Solstice?” or “How do you celebrate Winter Solstice?” Well, here are a few of our suggestions for one of the greatest days of the year.
There’s a strong tradition of drinking during Winter Solstice. No doubt because this is the longest night of the year (if you’re on the Northern Hemisphere) but also because many cultures celebrate the return of the Sun on this day. So while you raise your glass (as we will be doing) be sure to toast, “Hail the return of the unconquerable sun!” To spice up your drinking tradition on this most auspicious of nights we recommend a few options. More traditional drinks include mulled wine, wassail (literally meaning “be your healthy”), and fire themed cocktails. All of the above are good choices to kick off your solstice sentiments.
Recipe for Mulled Wine
- One bottle merlot or cab sav
- 2 cups apple cider
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon cloves
- 1 orange
- 1 cup walnuts
- 2 chopped apples
– Put all ingredients into a pot and bring to a boil. Let sit on medium high for ten minutes and drop to low heat. Serve when taste is ready.
Recipe for Solstice Wassail
- 2 pints and 1/4 cup brown ale or winter ale
- 3 or 4 cinnamon sticks
- 4 cloves
- 1 cup walnuts
- Lemon zest
- 4 apples
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 1 cup port or sweet red wine
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground all spice
Tawny and I also try to mark the solstice with some legendary memory making moments. Since her Hawaiian blood hates winter I try to soften the blow with some of the winter themed activities that my Norwegian blood longs for. A great example is sleigh rides. If you’re lucky enough to have a good sleigh ride location around you should hit it up. The few hours of day light leading up to the night of the solstice are best used outside. If you’re in WA, like us, Red Tail Canyon Farms has some great sleigh rides and is situated in the town of Leavenworth. This is a great chance to celebrate winter with not only horses, hot chocolate, and German food, but the state’s largest Nutcracker store.
Let’s be honest, if you can go dog sledding… even better.
Find some evergreen. A lot of you probably already have your Christmas tree up and in the house. If however, Christmas isn’t your holiday you should at least look for a wreath or a bow of pine. The evergreen tree (or plant of any kind) is a symbol of rebirth and surviving the winter. It should be a centerpiece of your solstice celebration. Just be careful, since the first three ingredients were liquor, sleep deprivation, and fire.
No matter how you choose to celebrate the solstice, we here at Captain and Clark hope that your first day of Winter is full of joy and celebration. This is a time to toast your victory. You’ve made it through another year and when the sun rises tomorrow, it will bring with it a new day of possibilities. Drink deep and love deeper today.
Hail the return of the unconquerable sun!