I am only recently on the uptake from a doozy of a cold. Where my joints didn't ache, they popped. My asthmatic lungs could have been confused for a Victorian steam engine. My throat and stomach rebelled at the mere concept of nourishment.
Something had to be done, and with no Jewish grandmother in sight, I made the cure-all drink my family has always whipped up in the face of illness: a guggle muggle. If you hail from Mittleuropean or Slavic Jewish stock, the thought of a guggle muggle probably warms your heart and soothes your throat. But as it turns out, there's little agreement about what constitutes a proper guggle muggle.
Some versions resemble eggnog; others are proto-custards. Some are more like hot toddies. As you can imagine from other divisions in Jewish edible culture, all this has resulted in a fair amount of quibbling.
My family's version falls in the hot toddy camp: boiling water, strong honey, lemon juice, and a fortifying spirit. Tradition demands Slivovitz, though any brandy will do in a pinch. It's a cure for any ailment, and after a couple I was able to get off the couch and even contemplate actual nourishment. But I wasn't done with the guggle muggle. I wanted more. So I set out to unify the diverse and diffuse guggle muggle camps under a banner they could all get around: ice cream.
Here's a version even a gentile could love: a smooth, relatively light ice cream run through with lemon and honey. There's a pronounced brandy flavor to keep things interesting, in no small part aided by the brandied apricots and ginger thrown in at the end. It's a heady ice cream that won't weigh you down. Just what the doctor ordered, whether you're sick or not.
Ethan Frisch is the chef and co-mastermind behind Guerrilla Ice Cream. He's traveled around the world (30 countries, 5 continents) and worked as a pastry chef and line cook in some of NYC's great (and not so great) restaurants. He currently lives in London, where he really misses New York City tap water.
Max Falkowitz writes Serious Eats' weekly Spice Hunting column. He's a proud native of Queens, New York, will do just about anything for a good cup of tea, and enjoys long walks down the aisles of Chinese groceries.You can follow his ramblings on Twitter.
- Yield:8 to 10 people (makes 1 quart)
- Active time: 45 minutes
- Total time:1 hour, 10 minutes (plus an overnight chill)
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup cream
- 2 teaspoons grated ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup strong honey
- Zest of 3 lemons
- 3 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup brandy, divided (recommended: Slivovitz plum brandy)
- 1/2 cup dried apricots, diced small
- 1/2 cup candied ginger, diced small
In a three-quart saucepan, combine milk, cream, ginger, and salt. Heat on medium-low, just below a simmer, for ten minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks and honey together in a medium bowl until thoroughly combined. After ten minutes, slowly add about 1/2 cup of dairy into yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Transfer whisked mixture back to saucepan, whisk to combine, and cook on medium-low heat until custard coats the back of a spoon and a finger swipe leaves a clean line. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve into an airtight container.
Stir in lemon zest and 3 tablespoons brandy, then transfer to refrigerator to chill overnight. In a small bowl, combine apricots, candied ginger, and 1/4 cup brandy. Refrigerate overnight.
The next day, churn ice cream according to manufacturer's instructions. In last minute of churning, slowly add soaked apricots, ginger, and any remaining brandy. Freeze for two to three hours before serving.