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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

When Life Gives You Lemons (and Oranges, Grapefruit, and Whiskey) Make Boilo!

Nothing says "cozy winter night" like a steaming mug of fresh squeezed orange juice and whiskey, right?  Think I'm crazy? You don't know what you're missing.  And neither did we...

...till we met Drew.  He's our resident expert on all things northeastern Pennsylvania.  He hails from Pottsville, so not only did he grow up on Yuengling, but he also loves Boilo... a traditional wintertime drink from his area of PA. After a few conversations about it at work, Jesse needed to see for himself. So Drew came over and taught us how to make it.

Cause you can't just tell someone how to make this stuff.  It's quite the process.

Unfortunately for you, I won't be sharing an actual recipe.  It's not that I'm sworn to secrecy, but I am sworn to protect the tradition.  Boilo-making for Drew's family is a very sacred winter ritual.  Like, they don't mess around.  If you make it in the summer you get shot.  Just kidding.  Maybe.  But seriously, there's a whole art form to this process and it's no joke... plenty of work involved and a quick internet search will show you that there is a lot of variation between family recipes.  Drew says that's part of the fun.

You start by chopping and juicing an insane amount of citrus fruit.  Seriously, they juice for what feels like hours! Having the boys over to make Boilo has been a very fun experience for me.  They've made three batches now, and it's one of the few times that a big kitchen project is going on and I get to be a passive observer!  I love it!  My kitchen is my absolute favorite room in the house and it's a rare occasion that I get to sit on the other side of the counter and watch other people creating!

I just get to sit and chat and take pictures.  And enjoy the fruits of their labors!  I don't even do any dishes... you boys can come over whenever you want as long as you make magic happen in my kitchen AND do the dishes!

Did I mention there's a lot of juicing going on?

Once you've juiced the proper amount of fruit, you add your spices (cloves, caraway seeds, red pepper flakes, etc.) and honey, bring it to a boil, and let it simmer for ten minutes.  Then you add the whiskey and strain the pulp one more time.  You put a cinnamon stick in each bottle and fill 'em up with Boilo!

And wa-la!  Boilo.  I think that's a quadruple batch or something.  (If you're going to go through all the work and dishes you might as well make a big batch, right?)  It's supposed to be served warm around the holidays.  I think it pairs really well with a fireside chat!  

Drew: "She's not really going to make us pose for pictures is she? 
Jesse: "You have no idea."

Thanks for teaching us to make Boilo Drew!  We're definitely adding it to our family tradition list.  Which makes us honorary Pennsylvanians, right?  

We now have a new way to beat the winter blues :o)  Cheers!


  1. Hey, Drew is practically a neighbor! I have never heard of this But I like it and plan adopt it too ...Only for the sake of fighting scurvey of course.

    1. Right! Fighting scurvey is my top priority as well ;o)