"The Firewhisky seared Harry’s throat. It seemed to burn feeling back into him, dispelling the numbness and sense of unreality, firing him with something that was like courage." — Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by JK Rowling
By now, almost everyone in America has gotten their hands on a frothy mug of the more popular Harry Potter beverage: sweet and creamy butter beer. Whether you’ve been to the theme park at Universal and waited in line at the little red butterbeer trolley or mixed up your own concoction at home, the sweet, butterscotchy flavor was well described in the books and easy enough to get your hands on in the Muggle realm.
Firewhisky, on the other hand, is mentioned far less frequently throughout the books, probably owing to Harry being too young to consume it for most of the series. One of Ron Weasley’s brothers passes out glasses to the group to toast a fallen friend during the 7th book.
I imagined firewhisky as something you would drink quickly in a shot glass, or else sip slowly when diluted with a mixer. This recipe tries to balance a sweet but spicy flavor infusion, built from cinnamon sticks, peppercorns and chili flakes.
This infusion gets better the longer you let it sit, but can be consumed in as little as 2-3 days if you’re in a rush. Use any whiskey you like, I grabbed a bottle of Evan Williams for this batch. If you aren’t a regular whiskey drinker, be sure to taste a little before you mix it all together so you know what your starting point tasted like.
Combine all ingredients in your bottle or pitcher and swirl to combine. Leave in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight for at least two days. Swirl the bottle or stir the ingredients at least once a day.
After 2-3 days, strain a small amount of the whiskey for tasting. If you want a stronger infusion, keep going for up to a week.
Serve neat when courage is needed and to toast great warriors, mentors and friends. Firewhisky also mixes well with apple cider, ginger ale and cream soda, for those seeking a little less “fire.”
** you can also substitute 3 TBS high quality vanilla extract, just stir it in after you’ve infused the other ingredients
Emma Carew Grovum is a data journalist working at the Chronicle of Philanthropy in Washington, D.C. She previously worked as the Digital Editor for The Cooking Club of America and blogs at kitchendreamer.blogspot.com Emma loves Star Wars, pandas and all things Joss Whedon. Find her on twitter at @emmacarew.