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At last the roommate and I are bonding, over the mulling of heady liquids, of all things. Last night we tipped two cans of Bulmer's into a pot and grated some ginger before I got impatient and lobbed the entire knob into it, with a handful of cloves. Then we brewed the concoction until the dreaded fizz dissipated and the sugar mellowed, so that we had a decent apple-y toddy, on the cheap. The night before that, we stewed a bottle of her wine and the last of my port with a halved lemon, its zest, cinnamon sticks, cloves, vanilla, nutmeg and cascades of runny honey. Maybe we chanted some luck to go with it, as you should on the longest nights of the year. To keep the cold from encroaching upon your thoughts and the darkness from seething under your skin, turning you into a creature you wouldn't recognize in the summer.


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