Smoky Stuffed Chicken with Serrano Ham and Olives

New Year, New Skills

19 smarter ways to cook, cocktail, and celebrate (and clean up after) for an easier, breezier, and tastier 2022

1. Do Basic Better

2. Treat Yourself

Salt Your Scotch

salting a glass of scotch
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Ruth Blackburn / Prop Styling by Mary Clayton Carl

My favorite go-to summer drink is a Scotch and soda with a lemon twist. A light pour of blended Scotch (I like Johnnie Walker Black) into a highball glass of ice cubes topped with two splashes of just-opened Schweppes club soda yields an at-once super-flavorful and refreshing drink, perfect for when everyone else's Aperol Spritzes are not your thing.

Last winter, burnt out on the sweetness of Old-Fashioneds, I craved the qualities of my summer Scotch and soda but couldn't wrap my head around drinking something so cold and diluted. Blended Scotch can be a bit thin, dry, and hot on the palate; most of the pleasure of Scotch is in its aroma. Knowing that club soda offered not just bubbles and length to a drink, but also a fair amount of sodium, I reached for the Maldon salt and crushed a flake into a dram of neat Scotch. I swirled in a small splash of water to help it open up.

BAM! It was like a Scotch flavor explosion. The heat of the alcohol took a back seat while it seemed every taste bud in my mouth perked up. Caramel and smoke were no longer just aromas but rolled over my palate. The first sip finished cleanly, as did the next. After a few more, I could feel the appetite-inducing effects of a pre-dinner drink, not unlike a briny Martini with olives. (And, like a Martini, two was not better than one.) —Mary-Frances Heck

3. Supercharge Your Pantry

4. Learn New Skills

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